Education

Arizona School District Censors Biology Book for Mentioning Abortion (Video)

| by Michael Allen

The Gilbert Public School District recently voted to remove pages from the biology textbook "Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections" because it mentions emergency contraception, morning after pills and abortion pills.

According to AZCentral.com (video below), Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a state law two years ago that says in part: "[N]o school district or charter school in this state may allow any presentation during instructional time or furnish any materials to pupils as part of any instruction that does not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion."

The issue began when the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian law firm, wrote a letter to the superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools in August complaining that the biology book mentioned "emergency contraception" and "morning after pills."

The ADF also opposed this scientifically correct line in the book:

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If a pregnancy has already occurred, the drug mifepristone, or RU486 can induce an abortion, the termination of a pregnancy in progress.

The biology book said that these pills "may cause significant side effects," but the ADF referred the school district to the website AbortionPillRisks.org for "documented deaths" from abortion pills. AbortionPillRisks.org doesn't disclose its owners, but does state that it "is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical, legal, or other professional advice."

The Arizona Department of Education and the Gilbert Public School District's attorney have said the biology book doesn't violate state law.

However, three conservative school board members voted against two dissenters to remove the pages from the book.

School board member Julie Smith claimed the censorship wasn't actually censorship, but was redacting.

"By redacting, we are not censoring," said Smith. "This school district does offer sexual education classes. If we were censoring we would not offer anything on this topic whatsoever."

However, redact is another word for censorship.

In response to the censorship vote, school board member Jill Humpherys told AZFamily.com, "When I looked at the textbooks, I thought they discussed biological principles well and in a very understandable way. If we hand a biology book to ninth-grade students with a page missing, I think there's going to be some questions about why that page is removed."

Sources: AZLeg.gov, AZFamily.com, AbortionPillRisks.org, AZCentral.com