University of Idaho Guidance on Near-Total Abortion Ban is a Chilling Example of Linked Threats to Free Expression
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(NEW YORK)– University of Idaho officials recently issued guidance for faculty and staff on how to comply with Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, implemented after the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.
The guidance, posted anonymously on Reddit and confirmed as authentic by multiple sources, warns University community members against promoting or providing resources, counsel, or references in relation to or in support of abortion in the course of their job duties or via the use of university resources. The guidance also places considerable restrictions on “promoting contraception,” noting that the subject law is unclear in scope and meaning, and explaining the university’s “conservative approach” in offering guidance as due to the fact that a violation of the law constitutes a felony.
“The University of Idaho’s guidance to its staff is a chilling example of the threats that new, expansive restrictions on abortion rights pose to freedom of expression, and a deeply troubling instance of administrative censorship,” said Summer Lopez, chief program officer of Free Expression at PEN America. “The language of Idaho’s abortion law is vague, but the university’s guidance risks doing the censors’ work for them, instilling in faculty the fear of professional and even criminal repercussions for mention of abortion or contraception.
“The guidance issued by the University demonstrates how this law tramples not just on reproductive rights, but on the academic freedom of faculty and students,” Lopez continued. “The state’s attack on reproductive freedom has now expanded to free inquiry in the classroom and in teacher-student interactions, in violation of free speech principles.”