Arizona Schools Rip Pages Out Of Textbooks So Kids Can’t Read About Birth Control
It’s Halloween, and nothing is scarier to the people of Arizona than the idea that their children might accidentally learn some science. The school board of Gilbert, Arizona voted in favor of censoring two pages of a biology textbook to keep kids from reading about contraception or abortion. Keep ’em ignorant – if they taste that big-city birth control you’ll never keep them on the farm!
The textbook in question is Campbell Biology, which I happen to have on hand thanks to its outstanding role in getting me through college and three years of teaching Advanced Placement Biology. It is pretty much the gold standard in biology texts, and, yes, for two pages toward the end of the book, it discusses contraception and abortion. What it does not mention, however, is that adoption is not only available, but the best possible option: because this is a damn science textbook, not a sex ed pamphlet from a crisis pregnancy center.
But apparently, mentioning abortion without adding “but if you do that you are a murderer, the best thing to do is adoption” is actually illegal in Arizona, thanks to a law that probably should have been aborted itself in its first trimester as a Senate Bill. The law, which makes no distinction between science and sex ed classes, requires that adoption be presented as the #1 choice in any “instructional materials” provided to students. Such as, for example, a biology textbook.
You can see the great scientific minds who must have been at working slapping that legislation together. State Senator Nancy Barto, who probably signed her name to the bill in crayon, had this to say about Gilbert’s censorship:
The books furnished to students in Gilbert Public Schools speak openly about abortion-causing contraceptives – and only slightly mention childbirth.
So this science genius thinks that contraceptives cause abortions. Yeah, that’s the person I want writing science-related legislation! And maybe the size of the textbook intimidated her, since she must have missed the description of birth on the page immediately facing the contraceptive section. I would suggest she might be illiterate, but then you’d think she might have caught the half-page spread of Figure 46.20, The Three Stages Of Labor depicting a dilating cervix, a crowning baby, and a placenta being delivered. (P.S. There is literally one paragraph about abortion itself in these two pages, which also includes spontaneous abortion/miscarriage. The two page section spends more time on Natural Family Planning and the pull-out method than it does abortion. But it also mentions that those two options aren’t as reliable as barrier methods, pills, or IUDs, which is probably another reason this book needs to be censored ASAP.)
As a former science teacher, I can assure you that probably no one in the history of ever has gotten a high school science class to page 1000 in this textbook, partly because we are too busy in the earlier chapters trying to convince students that evolution happened and that humans didn’t ride dinosaurs and that climate change is kind of a big deal. What the Gilbert School Board is really worried about is that high school students, if left to their own devices, might spend some extra time with their textbooks – and could then accidentally learn something about their own bodies. Something other than “this will someday belong to the first man to knock you up”. They are literally going to tear two pages out of a science textbook for being too science-y, and then probably burn the pages so that the custodian doesn’t accidentally eat from the Tree of Knowledge while emptying the trash.
I can’t wait until Arizona takes the logical next step and bans anyone from mentioning contraception or abortion without mentioning adoption as Plan A. “Yeah, I have to run to the pharmacy to get my birth control pills, which obviously aren’t as good as getting pregnant and having a baby someone could adopt!” “Honey, this pregnancy isn’t safe for your health, so abortion is an option. But a life-threatening gestation followed by adoption would probably be even better.” Because as we all know, if you hide the information and pretend it doesn’t exist, eventually it will blow away like dust in the wind. Or like the ashes of a censored textbook.