As reported last night by Rachel Maddow (see video below), at the urging of an anti-abortion religious group, the School Board in Gilbert, Arizona, is tearing out pages from a high school honors biology book. It is the first action taken after a law in Arizona passed two years ago that requires all textbooks “to present childbirth and abstinence as preferred options to elective abortion.”
The offending page, which simply discusses that abortion exists as a factual matter, something that is rightly part of the national curriculum for all Advanced Placement and other students hoping to enter college equipped with a complete education and able to compete on a level playing field.
Cutting out this page, retracting information previously available to students, is stupid and exceedingly counter-intuitive (see map below), whether in a biology textbook or in the context of sex education.
In this case, Rachel Maddow comes to the rescue by securing the domain, ArizonaHonorsBiology.com, to make this page available in perpetuity. But what about the next time and the next time after that?
This is similar to what we are witnessing in the state of Texas, where access to sex education is severely limited, and where social studies and history textbooks are being censored or in some cases rewritten to falsify facts (such as wiping out all mention of slavery, that it ever existed).
What will be next? Tearing out pages that mention homosexuality? marriage or cohabitation without children? the achievements of people of color? The answer is: Yes, more page-tearing and book-burning is in our nation’s future if we don’t start paying more attention to elections, starting at the local level.
We bring attention to this especially because it demonstrates the horrible repercussions of the theocratic fundamentalism now permeating American politics and law, retarding our progression towards a fair and just society.
These are not the first or only examples of censorship within our schools, and we are poised to see more of this retrograde behavior wherever right-wing nuts can gain a foothold, from local school boards to congress and possibly the White House itself someday.
These founts of poor decision-making are operating out of fear. They don’t believe women should ever have control over their reproductive health or equality rights, and think they are “protecting children” when they are actually hobbling them.
Complete sex education is the only thing that actually protects teenagers.
Free access to complete sex education is a human right. To withhold it is blatant child abuse when you consider the actual facts and repercussions.
Research proves that these programs are entirely ineffective. As a matter of fact, unwanted pregnancies and STDs including HIV are more prevalent in areas in the country that limit all sex education to abstinence-only programs. So these misguided lawmakers are not just wrong in purpose but wrong in deed.
Please go the polls on Tuesday (and every Election Day) and vote these people into the dustbin of stupid history.
More on sex education here.