Artist: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Confronting Bodies: State of Texas
Date of Action: March 1994
Specific Location: Austin, Texas
Description of Artwork: Five health textbooks
Description of Incident: Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc. said it was pulling its 700-page high school health text out of the huge Texas textbook market not only because making scores of requested revisions was economically unfeasible but also because ethical issues were at stake. The publishers decision came after months of Texas Board of Education hearings in which family-planning, anti-abortion, gay-advocacy, fundamentalist Christian, and other groups debated the merits of five health texts, written by Holt and four other publishers. The board, which buys all textbooks for the state, last month requested a total of 400 revisions in the five texts, with the largest percentage of them for the Holt book, including the deletion of toll-free numbers for gay and lesbian groups and for teenage suicide prevention groups. The state wanted to see passages on homosexuality abridged, the addition of language describing Texas's sodomy laws, and the deletion of a number of clinical illustrations, including a self-examination for testicular cancer and two comparing circumcised and uncircumcised penises.
Results of Incident: Holt refused to make changes.Textbooks sales in Texas represent about 8 percent of the $2.2 billion national market for textbooks. The state is second only to California, which represents about 12 percent. Texas is also one of 22 states in which government committees must approve all texts sold in the state. Because Texas controls such a large market share, publishers often develop texts to meet the standards set by its 15-member Board of Education and then market them nationwide.
Source: New York Times, 3/17/94 New York Times, 3/17/94
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