High School Under Fire for Biology Test Question Promoting Abortion

State   Steven Ertelt   Jun 2, 2016   |   4:53PM    Salt Lake City, UT

A high school in Utah is under fire for a biology test question that appears to promote abortion.

The question has to do with a genetic test a fictional couple had done to determine if their unborn baby had any disabilities. After the test indicates the unborn child has Down syndrome, a range of possible actions are provided for students to determine which is best — and none of the involve giving birth and loving the bay despite the supposed disability.

The potential answers include: waiting and redoing the genetic testing closer to the baby’s due date; trusting the scientific knowledge of the doctor and going forward with an abortion; prioritizing the wishes of the mother; and considering aspects like religious beliefs, financial burden and the effect on other family members before making “the best decision for everyone.”

A pro-life option is not included.

Electronic High School sophomore Cody Okerlund, who took the test in a proctor setting at Stansbury High School, captured an image of the abortion question with his cellphone. The test is causing outrage from parents:

Cody Okerlund’s mother, Lorri Higgins Okerlund, said she was proud of her son for speaking out about the test.

“This is a public school,” she said. “We have every right to know what our kids are being asked and learning.”

Principal Kathleen Webb said it is unclear where the test question originated, but it does not appear to have been written by the school’s biology teacher.

“The instant that I found it with her we removed it from the test bank,” Webb said. “It is not available to students.”

Oak Norton, an education activist affiliated with Utahns Against Common Core, said the question potentially violates Utah law by testing students’ moral, political and religious views.

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He also said it’s telling that students didn’t have the option of selecting an answer that respects the life of an unborn child.

“It’s getting at, really, a survey of their beliefs,” he said. “It’s an opinion question, and it doesn’t even include a full range of opinions.”

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