A school board in Arizona has voted to remove the pages of a high school biology textbook that mention contraception and abortion. The Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board voted 3-2 to redact two pages from Campbell Biology after hearing a presentation from a lawyer with the Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom. The lawyer told them that references to birth control and abortion, without also mentioning adoption, were in violation of state law.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, as you might recall, is the same group involved in fighting the equal rights law passed this spring in Houston. They're involved in a wide variety of bad ideas: The Arizona Republic reports that ADF attorney Natalie Decker told the Gilbert school board that the sub-chapter of Campbell Biology titled "Contraception Can Prevent Unwanted Pregnancy" was breaking a two-year-old law that requires that "childbirth and adoption" be taught as the "preferred options to elective abortion." (You can read the full text of that law here, if you're not already having a bad day and you'd like to start.)
Arizona's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is, as you can imagine, pretty unhappy: earlier this month they sent a letter to the Gilbert board, urging them not to comply with the ADF's "effort to censor educational materials." They pointed out, too, that the law doesn't say abortion and contraception can't be taught, only that adoption has to be promoted as the best option. But the pressure from the other side has also been strong: on her website, Arizona State Senator Nancy Barto has called the textbooks "unlawful," while at the same time mistakenly conflating abortion and contraception: "The books furnished to students in Gilbert Public Schools speak openly about abortion-causing contraceptives – and only slightly mention childbirth," she wrote (emphasis hers).
According to the East Valley Tribune, the ADF was also the one to recommend censoring the textbooks: "The decision to redact the content was offered by ADF as an option and recommended by Board Clerk Daryl Colvin, who described it as the cheapest, simplest, least disruptive and most efficient way to deal with the issue."
Life, as ever, imitates art:
Image via The Simpsons