Jason Kenney Appoints Former President of Anti-Abortion Group As Alberta’s New Education Minister
Kenney’s new education minister organized controversial anti-abortion presentations in Alberta schools
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has appointed a social conservative activist who previously ran a controversial group that organized anti-abortion presentations in Red Deer schools to serve as the province’s next education minister.
Adriana LaGrange, the United Conservative Party MLA for Red Deer–North, was revealed as Kenney’s pick to run Alberta’s school system at a ceremony in Edmonton Tuesday morning.
LaGrange was one of 52 UCP candidates who received support from anti-abortion groups that sought to stack nomination meetings and install candidates who would be sympathetic to a social conservative policy agenda.
A former trustee for Red Deer’s Catholic school board, LaGrange previously served as the president of Red Deer Pro-Life, which also made her by extension a member of the board of directors of Alberta Pro-Life.
“I have been an active member for over 26 years,” Kenney’s education minister wrote about her involvement in the anti-abortion groups in 2013.
Alberta Pro-Life was once behind a province-wide campaign calling for the “defunding” of “tax-funded of abortions” which involved radio ads attacking Alberta’s Tory government for “paying for thousands of abortions every year.”
Below is one of Alberta Pro-Life’s radio ad that was recovered by PressProgress from a cached copy of the anti-abortion group’s long defunct website:
According to a bulletin to supporters, LaGrange said she had a personal hand in buying anti-abortion advertizing, explaining that she once “put an ad in the Red Deer Advocate for Mother’s Day weekend” and added that she hoped to “have signs in the inside of City buses this fall.”
Kenney’s new minister of education also organized and promoted initiatives to deliver in-class anti-abortion presentations to school children.
“Parents ask your schools to invite us to do a presentation,” LaGrange wrote.
“We are able to direct our educational presentations to all age groups,” adding that “for more information, call 340-BABY.”
After stepping aside from Red Deer Pro-Life, the group made national headlines in 2017 after students at a Red Deer high school that LaGrange oversaw as a trustee were repeatedly shown anti-abortion videos during an in-class presentation.
According to Buzzfeed Canada, one of the videos shown to students controversially compared abortion procedures to the Nazi Holocaust.
Red Deer Pro-Life also instructed students that it is “not okay” for women to have abortions, even if doing so “reminds her of her rapist.”
LaGrange’s school board found itself at the centre of yet another abortion-related controversy last year after it approved using public resources to send students to an anti-abortion rally.
The anti-abortion group LaGrange oversaw has also promoted so-called crisis pregnancy centres, which are located near abortion clinics and set-up with the goal of shaming women into reconsidering abortions.
As President of Red Deer Pro-Life, LaGrange wrote that she “enjoyed listening” to a presentation about the “Back Porch,” one such misleading clinic that is operated by anti-abortion activists.
The Alberta Pro-Life group has also promoted junk science, falsely claiming that abortion causes breast cancer and raising ethical concerns about vaccines used for chicken pox, measles and other childhood diseases on the grounds that scientists who worked on early vaccines once made use of fetal tissue several decades ago.
In 2013, Alberta Pro-Life changed its name to “The Wilberforce Project,” a group that campaigned for Kenney in the UCP leadership vote and played an active role in influencing UCP policy.
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