Condoms should only be provided to students to prevent sexually transmitted infections, not as contraceptives, according to a memo the University of Idaho sent to staff last week.
The memo, first obtained by the Idaho Press and sent to all employees Friday, lays out the university’s reproductive policy after Idaho enacted an abortion law that outlaws abortion in nearly all circumstances.
The memo further warns employees that they cannot make pro-abortion statements and should “exercise caution anytime discussions are moving in the direction of reproductive health,” The Hill reported.
The university said it included birth control recommendations because of a lack of clarity in the law on “prevention of conception,” according to the Idaho State Capital Sun.
Staff are prohibited from recommending or recommending abortions to students. Employees were also told not to give out emergency contraception — the so-called morning-after pill, also known as Plan B — except in the case of rape.
Standard birth control pills will reportedly still be distributed at student health centers, which are run by Moscow Family Health, not the university itself. The university does not provide abortion services.
It warned that any staff member who referred students to abortion risked being convicted and could be barred from employment in any future state.
“Because the violation is considered a felony, we recommend a conservative approach here,” the memo reads.
Abortion is almost completely banned in Idaho, with the exception of rape or where life is at risk. It went into effect on Aug. 25 and faces a lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department, which believes it could prevent doctors from using the procedure in medical emergencies.
The university said it was issuing recommendations that staff remain neutral on abortion issues to avoid punishment, as another law passed in 2021, the Public Funds Against Abortion Act, prohibits state employees and officials from recommending abortions.
“This is a challenging law for many and has real implications for individuals as it requires criminal prosecution of individuals. This guide is designed to help our employees understand this passage passed by the Idaho Legislature The legal implications and possible actions of this new law,” Jody Walker, the university’s executive director of communications, told The Washington Post.
However, not all universities in pro-abortion countries have followed suit. Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, whose abortion ban went into effect in August, said it would continue to offer birth control and emergency contraception to students, The Washington Post reported.