- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

A Phoenix-area school district is defending its decision to place pro-abstinence, anti-abortion stickers in its biology textbooks, following complaints from pro-choice parents.

Gilbert Public Schools is facing backlash after Laura Conaway, writing for MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” broke the story last Friday and Suzanne Young, an author and mother of a GPS high school student, tweeted a picture of the sticker, which went viral, the Phoenix New Times reported.

“This. THIS is a sticker my son’s public high school just forced all students to put in their science books,” her tweet read. “Son got in the car, turned to me, and handed me his biology book. ‘You’re going to want to read this,’ he said, pointing to the sticker.”

The stickers are in all biology textbooks used by ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students, Irene Mahoney-Paige, spokeswoman for the district, told the New Times.

The sticker reads: “The Gilbert Public School District supports the state of Arizona’s strong interest in promoting childbirth and adoption over elective abortion. The District is also in support of promoting abstinence as the most effective way to eliminate the potential for unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. If you have questions concerning sexual intercourse, contraception, pregnancy, adoption, or abortion, we encourage you to speak with your parents.”

The sticker also mentions an Arizona law passed two years ago and an accompanying definition statute that requires public schools to “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion,” the New Times reported.

“We can’t just ignore one side over another,” Ms. Mahoney-Paige told the paper. “There were people who thought were weren’t compliance [with the law]. Now, there’s no argument.”

The compromise followed a controversial proposal last year to tear a page out of the “Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections” textbook. That idea was eventually scrapped, but the stickers were chosen as a compromise, the New Times reported.

Christina Kishimoto, district superintendent, released the following statement this week: “I worked closely with the Governing Board to provide a solution to last year’s matter regarding the District’s biology books. The board and I have full confidence in our teachers, and because we trust the way our teachers instruct, we agreed that the stickers on the back cover are the best course of action. We are pleased with the collaboration and completion of this matter.”

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