Arizona School Board Votes to Remove Abortion from Biology Curriculum

Arizona School Board Votes to Remove Abortion from Biology Curriculum

The school board of Gilbert Public Schools in Arizona has voted to remove two pages of a biology textbook that focus on abortion, after members agreed the section does not meet state law that gives preference to childbirth and adoption over abortion.

According to The Arizona Republic, the Gilbert Public Schools governing board voted, 3-2, Tuesday to remove the pages from an honors biology textbook titled Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections, which contains a chapter on contraception that includes a discussion about drugs that can induce abortion.

Textbooks are chosen by local school districts in Arizona.

Board member Julie Smith said the school district is breaking a state law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) two years ago. In April of 2012, Arizona Senate Bill 1009 was enacted, requiring that no Arizona school district “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.”

Board President Stacy Burk noted her district is likely the first in Arizona with plans to edit a textbook under the new law. “Since the change in this law was relatively recent, we are likely the first school board to proactively ensure that the legislative intent is being enforced,” Burk said Wednesday.

The board raised the issue when, in January, parents expressed concern about the textbook and asked Scottsdale-based advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for assistance. ADF alerted the board to the textbook issues in a letter in August. The letter expressed concern that the textbook discusses “emergency contraception,” including the “morning after pills,” and the drug mifepristone – also known as RU486.

Students are specifically advised, “If a pregnancy has already occurred, the drug mifepristone, or RU486, can induce an abortion, the termination of a pregnancy in progress.”

“Students are told that the drug ‘may cause significant side effects,’ when in reality this drug has lead [sic] to several documented deaths,” the letter stated.

“School districts must follow the law and provide students with a curriculum that supports positive, life-affirming choices,” said Natalie Decker, legal counsel for ADF, who provided a presentation to the board. “We commend Gilbert Public Schools for taking the necessary steps to comply with a law designed to protect children and the state’s strong interest in promoting childbirth and adoption.”

However, as Breitbart TV observed Friday, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has announced the launch of a website where Gilbert’s high school students may view the textbook pages that discuss abortion.

Maddow said:

Dear honors biology students of Gilbert, Arizona, I now address you directly. You may soon find yourself holding a biology textbook with a hole where some true facts used to be. Don’t despair. We here at The Rachel Maddow Show have preserved the part of your biology textbook that the crusading religious group and the Republican state Senators and the conservative majority on your school board no longer wants [sic] to allow you to see. We’re going to keep it posted for you in perpetuity at arizonahonorsbiology.com, which we bought today so that we could post the page that they’re cutting out of your textbook. You can get it there.

“Students deserve to be taught important social values that promote life,” said ADF Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton. “The Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board rightly voted to affirm state law and life.” 


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