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Pupil’s Anti-Abortion Exhibit Removed After Winning Science Fair Prize

March 4, 1995

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) _ A fifth-grader won a red ribbon for her anti-abortion science fair project, then had to take it down because it showed pictures of aborted fetuses.

``This is a topic that is not discussed at the elementary level,″ said school superintendent Percy Houts. ``It’s not appropriate.″

Gabrielle Rockney’s project _ which competed with such other exhibits as how beavers build dams and which popcorn pops fluffiest _ showed a fetus in various stages of development.

It was titled ``Is Abortion Murder? Yes!″ and was accompanied by a report that said life begins at conception. It won second place.

``I want to try to prove to people that abortion is murder and it’s not OK to have one,″ the 10-year-old said. But she said she wasn’t trying to use the project to make a political or religious statement.

The information for the display came from an anti-abortion group and the Bible, she said. She said she did not consult abortion-rights groups because she ran out of time.

The project was removed Thursday from the Joy Elementary School gymnasium, where the other projects were displayed, and put in the principal’s office.

Doug Schamel, who coordinates the district’s science fairs, said a project on abortion ``certainly fits″ within the realm of a science fair. He said he had not seen Gabrielle’s display.

A Right to Life official said taking the display down was censorship.

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