A medical school lecture comparing the "parallels between fetuses and cancers" is coming under fire from the University of California as a dehumanizing lesson to students.
But the professor insists it wasn't the point of the slide.
The lecture, reportedly part of the UC San Diego School of Medicine course, Evolution of Human Disease, "explores the major epidemiological transitions from ape-like ancestors to foraging tribes, farmers and pastoralists, to the global metropolitan primate we now are. We focus on how diseases have shaped humans and how humans have shaped disease over time."
In the screengrab, the slide refers to a preborn child as a "legitimate parasite" that "invades" its mother and "manipulates" her immunity.
Dylan Griswold, a Stanford Medical student, posted a screengrab of the slide Thursday night with the caption: "No joke, a friend just sent me this slide from her upper-level biology course. I'm speechless."
Later, Griswold tweeted: "as all 'woke' medical students know, pregnancy is a disease. Abortion is the remedy...Ironically, it is you whose language espouses vitriol, division, and bigotry."
After the slide went viral, the professor responded in an email to his class.
"Most of you probably realize that my point was to show that mammals are especially prone to invasive cancers because mammals evolved invasive placentation," he wrote, according to a tweet from Griswold. "My point was not to indoctrinate you with the notion that fetuses are cancers, as insinuated in the article."
Lila Rose, the founder and president of Live Action, slammed California's public university system and called out the professor for his statement.
"Amid scrutiny, UC San Diego professor says he didn't intend to say 'fetuses and cancers,'" Rose wrote. "How about backtracking the term “parasite”? These are medically inaccurate & offensive terms, ones that abortion advocates have used for dozens of years to dehumanize children."
The university said the slide said the point of the slide is to show "mammals are especially prone to invasive cancers, in part because mammals evolved the ability to host fetuses and placentas."
"The slide presents common, widely accepted scientific concepts and in no way represents a political statement," the university said in a statement.
The professor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.