(LifeSiteNews) — The administration at a state university in Idaho released a memo detailing what constitutes illegal promotion of abortion and contraception, warning employees about the consequences of breaking the law.
On Friday, the University of Idaho sent a lengthy description of the state’s pro-life legislation, cautioning all employees about the different ways in which they could violate the law and possibly face termination and felony charges.
The memo states that the university “is committed to operating within the confines of laws of the state of Idaho which restrict expenditures of funds and activities of university employees in the areas of abortion and contraception. The Office of General Counsel is distributing this memorandum summarizing these laws, in the context of university operations, to assist university employees in complying with the restrictions.”
“During all the times that university employees are performing their jobs, the law prohibits them from taking any action, and from using or providing institution funds or facilities, for any of the following: Promoting abortion, providing or performing abortion, counseling in favor of abortion, referring for abortion, providing facilities for an abortion or for training to provide or perform an abortion.”
The document points out that any drug “classified as emergency contraception by the FDA” is illegal to distribute unless in cases of rape. “Contracting with abortion providers and advertising or promoting services for abortion or for the prevention of conception” is also prohibited.
Consequences for breaking any of the guidelines could result in misdemeanor or felony charges, “reimbursement of funds” used illegally, termination from any university position and “permanent bar from future state employment.”
According to the document, there are still ways in which employees can direct students to pro-abortion resources, such as pointing them “to sources of information outside the university” and discussing the topic of abortion and related material when relevant to academic content. In the classroom, the instructor must demonstrate “neutrality in the discussion.”
Employees are also allowed to “provide condoms for the purpose of helping prevent the spread of STDs and not for purposes of birth control.”
The university is never to be presented as an advocate for abortion or contraception. Even if students request further information, faculty must “remain neutral” while redirecting them to groups outside of the institution that can show students “all alternatives legally available to them.”
The memo is most directly related to a bill passed in 2021 that prohibits any public funding to support, refer or perform abortions. As an organization funded by the state, the university must comply with this law.
Idaho’s abortion ban went into effect last month after the state’s Supreme Court ruled a 2020 “trigger law” could be implemented. The current legislation prohibits abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or threats to a mother’s life.
The Biden administration filed a lawsuit challenging the ban and attempting to restore abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court returned the decision to individual states. Hearings on the merits of the suits will begin September 29.