(LifeSiteNews) — A group of pro-abortion educators backed by state teachers’ unions has filed a lawsuit challenging an Idaho law barring the use of taxpayer dollars to promote abortion, which they say infringes on their freedom of speech to promote abortion in the classroom.

Enacted in 2021, Idaho’s No Public Funds for Abortion Act prohibits state government entities from contracting with abortion providers or their affiliates, or public funds from being “used in any way to provide, perform, or induce an abortion; assist in the provision or performance of an abortion; promote abortion; counsel in favor of abortion; refer for abortion; or provide facilities for an abortion or for training to provide or perform an abortion.”

“Any intentional violation of the provisions of this chapter by a public officer or public employee shall be considered a misuse of public moneys punishable under section 18-5702” of the state code, the law says, which lays out fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for anywhere from one to fourteen years, depending on the details of the violation.

Live Action reports that the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing five University of Idaho professors, one Boise State University professor, and two teachers unions in the Gem State in a lawsuit claiming that the law is broad enough that it can be interpreted as prohibiting any mention of abortion in state-funded classrooms, putting a “strait jacket upon the intellectual leaders” who need “autonomy in fostering vibrant debate on their campuses, free from government interference.”

Idaho Family Policy Center president Blaine Conzatti responds that the suit is “meritless” and that the law is about preventing publicly-funded institutions such as universities from providing abortion referrals or dispensing abortion drugs, not academic debate.

“The First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution do not provide carte blanche legal protections for higher education faculty to advocate or engage in criminal behavior on the taxpayer’s dime,” Conzatti said. “The ‘No Public Funds For Abortion Act’ simply does not infringe on academic speech protected by the First Amendment, including classroom discussion on topics related to abortion.”

Fourteen states currently ban all or most abortions, with available data so far indicating that pro-life state laws could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 abortions a year.

In response, abortion allies pursue a variety of tactics to preserve abortion “access,” such as easing distribution of abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, attempting to enshrine “rights” to the practice in state constitutions rather than the U.S. Constitution, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors. 

Biden has called on Congress to codify a “right” to abortion in federal law, which would not only restore but expand the Roe status quo by making it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws.