Working for a university typically involves teaching students. What the students learn from you allows them to go into society and contribute in a positive way. Unfortunately, not everyone is teaching content that provides a positive influence on society.
One university has decided to make it clear to its staff what can and cannot be discussed.
The University of Idaho has decided to send a written warning to its employees that they cannot discuss topics related to contraception or abortion while on the job. This includes while they are teaching or even around the water cooler in the office. Such discussions could result in felony charges.
The University has also chosen to no longer make birth control available. This is something that had been available to students. Their reason involves hiding behind state laws that prohibit public funds from being used on such things as abortion as well as advertising any kind of contraceptive or abortion-related drugs.
They aren’t giving students many options at this point. While they aren’t allowing abortion, they also aren’t making it easy for students to engage in sexual activities while being safe – which is what contraception provides.
Essentially, the University of Idaho is focusing on abstinence and being smart about every choice that is being made. Or, if you look at what’s being said on social media, many people feel as though the University is forcing students to give birth in the event of an accidental pregnancy.
The University’s Office of General Counsel provided guidance so that employees know how to operate within state laws. The school is “committed to operating within the confines of laws.”
Boise State Public Radio also published some of the guidance. It identifies that state employees are not able to promote abortion, counsel in favor of abortion, perform an abortion, or even refer patients for abortions. It goes further to say that employees do not have the legal ability to dispense emergency contraception or promote any services “for abortion or the prevention of conception.”
Anyone who is found violating the law could face misdemeanor or felony charges depending upon the specific crime. This means that anyone caught even talking to someone about abortion or contraception could be forced to pay fines or spend up to five years in prison. It is also likely that there will be termination along with being barred from future state employment.
The University of Idaho is concerned about the parameters of the state law that prohibits anyone from advertising or providing notice of “any medicine or means for producing or facilitating a miscarriage or abortion, or for the prevention of conception.” As such, it will not be offering any kind of standard birth control.
The CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Indiana, and Kentucky, Rebecca Gibron, has been extremely critical of this new policy, calling it draconian and extremist. She believes that it strips people of all control over any kind of reproductive healthcare.
This isn’t quite accurate. Students and staff at the University still have the ability to seek whatever it is that they need, whether it is contraception or information regarding abortion – they simply cannot do it at the University, which is funded by the state. They would need to seek public solutions for what they need.
This is all a result of the Biden administration suing Idaho because it dared to ban abortion entirely. Now, the state is still required to offer abortions in medical emergencies, even if they aren’t life-threatening.
It is likely that other universities are soon going to follow suit – which begs the question, is it possible to talk about anything controversial anymore?