The University of Idaho is set to stop providing birth control as a new radically restrictive abortion ban goes into effect in the state. The move is exceedingly rare for state universities.
The policy applies to all forms of birth control besides condoms which can only be provided as protection against STIs, not as a form of contraception.
The move was announced in a statement from the University's general counsel last week.
It also warned given the vagueness of the law's terms, even speaking of abortion on University property could open faculty to felony charges.
Counsel warned if employees appear to support abortion, counsel students about abortion options or refer a student to an abortion provider they could face not only felony charges put permanent banning from state employment.
The legal counsel's notice reads in part:
“In this new and evolving legal landscape, how these laws will be enforced remains unclear."
"Accordingly, the university and its employees should be aware of the potential risks and penalties associated with conduct that may be perceived to violate the laws.”
It goes on to say call the Idaho law's verbiage "unclear and untested in the courts" and the halt to providing birth control was as a result of this legal vagueness to ensure faculty are protected from the bill's criminal penalties.
"We are advising a conservative approach here, that the university not provide standard birth control itself.”
The notice also explained condoms may still be distributed, but “only for the purpose of helping prevent the spread of STDs," not for birth control.
Idaho's trigger ban went into effect August 25 and is among the most restrictive in the country to go into effect following the June Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health that overturned the previous SCOTUS cases that underpinned abortion rights, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
The Idaho law bans abortions entirely any time after conception except in cases of rape or incest documented by law enforcement or danger to the life of the pregnant person.
On Twitter, many people were horrified by the new rules.
Planned Parenthood has already challenged the new Idaho law in court.
Hearings will commence next week.