Prudish Tennessee Mom Wants Book Discussing Cervical Cancer Banned For Being ‘Too Graphic’

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a tale of how the cervical cancer cells of one woman propelled modern medicine into the modern era. However, according to The Huffington Post, one Tennessee mom doesn’t see it that way. Jackie Sims is working to get the book pulled from her son’s assigned reading list, for the following reasons:

“I consider the book pornographic. There’s so many ways to say things without being graphic in nature, and that’s the problem I have with the book.”

Seriously? A 10th grader can’t handle information he might be learning in health class anyway? Or does this mother even let her son take health classes? Heaven forbid he might learn how the human body works. Medical information and anatomy might be graphic, but it’s not pornographic in any way.

Lacks’ cells were taken without her knowledge or consent, as she lay in the hospital battling cervical cancer, according to WBIR. The book does address more than medical ethics; it contains themes of violence and infidelity, among other things. Lacks was from a poor family; in order to properly chronicle her life, these things must be present in the story if they were present in her life.

This is what happens when we fear anything and everything having to do with sex; we can’t even talk about anatomy and health without someone freaking out about young minds. The passages that Jackie Sims has problems with include a passage discussing how Lacks discovered a lump on her cervix, which she did by inserting a finger inside of herself. Another passage discussed her husband bringing home an STD.

Are 10th graders so sheltered, and thus, so tender, that we have to worry about the damage we’ll do when it comes to something like this? We probably wouldn’t have this problem if we had comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex-ed in each grade. But our society is full of prudes who think that anything that even hints at sex being introduced in a high school curriculum is absolutely evil.

Teachers are often under strict guidelines for what they can have their students read, and anything that was actually inappropriately graphic would already have been pulled. Jezebel says that, contrary to that, the school stands by both the book, and the teacher who assigned it. The vice principal actually said:

“Know that the book and teachers have the complete support from the administration of the school. It’s an amazing book that fits with our STEM curriculum better than almost any book could! The next book that the sophomores are reading? Fahrenheit 451… Oh, sweet, sweet, irony.”

Jackie’s son was given an alternate book to read, so he could complete his summer assignment. However, she’s still working to get the book banned from the curriculum altogether. Won’t someone think of the children?!

Watch WBIR’s report below:


Featured image via screen capture from embedded video