sticker on AZ textbooks

Arizona school district adds abstinence-only, anti-choice sticker to science textbook

In Arizona, public schools do not have to teach sex education but if they do, they are required by law to stress abstinence. Another state law passed a few years ago requires that public school programs “present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.” 

Last year, the conservative Gilbert School District decided that to fully compile with the law they should probably censor the parts of the high school honors biology textbook that mention contraception and abortion. Because we all know that mentioning the fact of the existence of something amounts to promoting it. They seem to have dropped their original plan to literally just rip out those pages, and instead are handing out these stickers and requiring students to put them on the inside cover of their book as a little reminder of the state’s values.

Translation: “We believe in withholding information on how to prevent unintended pregnancies from you. We believe in withholding information on how to end any unintended pregnancy you may have thanks to the fact that we have purposefully withheld information on how to prevent one. Though we are educators charged with giving you the information you need to succeed in life, we wash our hands of this matter.”

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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