AZ school board votes to tear out pages mentioning abortion from honors biology textbook
Despite assurances from the Arizona Department of Education that passages in an honors biology text book describing abortion are legal, the governing body of the Gilbert Public Schools voted this week to remove the offending pages, reports AZ Central.
Board member Julie Smith claimed the passages in the textbook, ‘Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections,’ violates state law prohibiting the use of materials “that do not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.”
Under a heading of “Contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancy,” the text states, “Complete abstinence (avoiding intercourse) is the only totally effective method of birth control.” It also describes how the “morning after pill” works as a contraception method.
Smith said the offensive material was brought to her attention by a constituent.
In a letter to the school board, the faith-based Alliance Defending Freedom complained that the textbook contained a passage acknowledging the existence of RU486 which can be used to end a pregnancy up to seven weeks after conception. The ADF also disputed the safety of so-called “morning after” pills.
At the urging of the ADF the Gilbert board voted 3-2 to remove the pages.
Responding to criticism from board member Lily Tram that the board’s decision to bowdlerize the book, — in use by the district since 2006, — amounted to censorship, Smith disagreed saying the board was “redacting” the pages.
“By redacting, we are not censoring,” Smith explained. “This school district does offer sexual education classes. If we were censoring we would not offer anything on this topic whatsoever.”
According to Board President Stacy Burk, some parents have already volunteered to help remove or redact the pages in the textbook.
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