Target: Staci Burk, President of Arizona’s Gilbert Public Schools governing board
Goal: Demand that the Gilbert Public School Board not remove pages on reproductive health from its honors biology textbooks
The public school board in a suburb of Phoenix has recently voted to remove two pages from a high school textbook because it provides information on what is colloquially known as the “morning after pill.” This is dangerous censorship of vital reproductive health information. Urge the school board to abandon their plans to remove this information from its biology textbooks.
The governing board for the Gilbert Public Schools district just outside Phoenix, Arizona voted on October 29th to remove two pages from its honors biology textbook because it provides information on the morning after pill. The school board contends that the information is at odds with a state law that bars schools from providing reproductive health information “that does not give preference, encouragement, and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.” The Arizona Department of Education, in response to inquiries about the legality of the information presented in the textbook, released an opinion in September that the information was not illegal. The Gilbert Public School board, however, has opted to remove the pages of its own accord, without any legal pressure from the state government.
This is dangerous and unnecessary censorship that has no legal basis and was done for strictly ideological reasons. Sign the petition below to demand that the school board abandon its plans to remove this important information from its honors biology textbooks.
Dear President Burk,
I am writing you because I am very disappointed with your recent vote to remove two pages from your honors biology textbook, “Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections,” due to the information it communicates about emergency contraception. Because the information is not illegal by Arizona’s laws, your decision to redact the information amounts to political censorship.
In all honesty, the information you are reacting to is pretty mundane–it only outlines how the morning after pill works, and in no way communicates, either explicitly or implicitly, that it should be preferred over Arizona’s codified favored methods of childbirth and adoption. In fact, it specifically states that the morning after pill “should only be used in emergencies,” and is preceded by a statement that specifies that abstinence is the only guaranteed effective means of birth control. How can any of this be read as an endorsement of emergency contraception over childbirth and adoption?
Additionally, Arizona’s Department of Education, as well as your board’s very own attorney, are on record as saying that none of the information in question is illegal. Why remove it if the very department that would pursue legal action against your schools has already come out as saying that there’s no trouble?
Your actions are unjustifiable from a legal standpoint, and dangerous. Despite how you try to spin it, this is full-on political censorship. I encourage you to abandon your decision to redact the information, and leave the textbook as it is.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wing-Chi Poon via Wikimedia Commons