The Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board in Arizona recently voted to "redact" a page from a ninth-grade biology text book because it includes a brief section on an abortion pill. School officials have responded by literally tearing the page from the texts. Thankfully, the Internet has come to the rescue.

The offending section from Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections is in regards to an FDA-approved pill called Mifepristone, or RU486, which can terminate a pregnancy before seven weeks. A conservative Christian law organization called Freedom complained to Gilbert school district superintendent Christina Kishimoto over the summer.

The Washington Post reports:

The governing board said schools could decide how to remove the offending material. Methods can include marking it out, pasting something over it, or, as the board's acting president, Daryl Colvin, was quoted as saying in The Arizona Republic: "The cheapest, least disruptive way to solve the problem is to remove the page. It's only a page." KTVK-TV quoted one of the two governing board members who voted against the action, Jill Humphreys, as making the fine point that "if we hand a biology book to ninth-grade students with a page missing, I think there's going to be some questions about why that page is removed."

Here's the page:

And the opposite side:

The governing board is taking the action to bring the book into alignment with a state law passed two years ago requiring public schools to ensure that all materials and in-school discussions give "preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion."

The board voted 3-2 to remove the page.

In response, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has created a webpage showing the redacted material. She sent a message to Gilbert's honor biology schools, saying:

Dear honors biology students of Gilbert, Arizona, I now address you 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.

The idea has since spread. Meteorologist Dan Satterfield recently featured the ripped page on an American Geophysical Union blog post, adding that "I hope my fellow science bloggers will also post these, so that students will be able to find them easily."

[ Washington Post ]