Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer pauses during a news conference, Feb. 26, 2014, in Phoenix, Ariz.
Ross D. Franklin/AP

Arizona law leads to ‘edit’ of biology textbook

Updated
If you missed the show on Friday, I’m just amazed by this story.
School district staff [in Gilbert, Arizona] will “edit” a high-school honors biology textbook after board members agreed that it does not align with state regulations on how abortion is to be presented to public-school students.
 
Gilbert Public Schools board members, backed by a conservative religious group, voted 3-2 to make the change, arguing that they are complying with a 2-year-old state law that requires public schools to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.” […]
 
The board made its decision after listening to a presentation from Natalie Decker, a lawyer for Scottsdale-based Alliance Defending Freedom. The advocacy group brought the chapter to board members’ attention.
Apparently, in 2012, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed into a law a measure that requires public schools to present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.
 
What’s wrong with that? In Gilbert, the honors biology class uses a textbook with a page that told students, “[C]omplete abstinence, avoiding intercourse, is the only totally effective method of birth control.” The same page includes information – rather clinic information – about the morning-after pill and medically-induced abortion. The procedure, the text says, “requires a doctor’s prescription and several visits to a medical facility.”
 
The state Board of Education and its lawyer said the paragraph in question isn’t a problem – it doesn’t advocate or encourage abortion – but apparently that didn’t matter. Conservative activists and local Republican officials insisted the textbook is illegal under the law created by Brewer two years ago.
 
As a practical matter, they conceded that the textbook pre-dates the Arizona statute, and that the school district can’t just go out and buy new textbooks because of one paragraph the right finds objectionable, so in the interest of expediency, conservatives want to “excise” the offending page – which is to say, they want to literally tear out the page that mentions abortion from the book.
 
And that’s where “The Rachel Maddow Show” enters the picture.
 
I’ll just quote Rachel directly for those who missed the segment:
“So, dear honors biology students of Gilbert, Arizona, I now address your 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 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. ArizonaHonorsBiology.com.”
She wasn’t kidding; the link works. If you happen to have that textbook, and you’ve noticed that there’s a page missing, we have you covered. If you have the book and that page is still there, you should let us know – we’re looking for the back of the page.
 
The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/31/14, 9:20 PM ET

School board to rip out textbook's abortion mention

Rachel Maddow reports on an Arizona town’s school board’s decision to remove references to abortion in a high school honors biology textbook by literally tearing out the page containing the offending references. Maddow offers students an alternative.

Abortion, Arizona, Jan Brewer and Reproductive Rights

Arizona law leads to 'edit' of biology textbook

Updated