The Idaho Abortion Act affects the UI-Argonaut Women’s Center

Lysa Salsbury was working remotely from her daughter’s home in Texas when the University of Idaho abortion note came out. It was Friday at the end of the day and she was scared.

The Women’s Center operates as a confidential on-campus sexual assault reporting facility. However, they are also employees of the University of Idaho. Consequently, they are among the faculty and staff covered by Idaho’s laws that prevent public employees from talking about contraception or abortion in any form.

“The two overwhelming reactions I have seen are anger and fear,” said the director of the Salsbury Women’s Center, sitting in her office.

Salsbury has been at the Women’s Center since 2005. The biggest burden on this note is that the center is no longer able to discuss the options they used, including contraceptives. However, the Center may still supply condoms to help prevent sexually transmitted infections.

This is introduced by the Law on the lack of public funds for abortion, which prevents the government from concluding contracts with abortion providers or their related entities, but also prohibits public administration employees from supporting or advising on abortion.

“No person, agency, organization or any other party that receives funds … may use these funds to perform or promote an abortion, provide abortion advice, issue abortion referrals, or provide abortion facilities or training to provide or perform a miscarriage. ,.”Reads Idaho code.

Introduced as House Bill in the 220 Idaho Legislative Session in 2021, the bill is also joined by a pre-Roe law preventing non-healthcare providers from providing abortion information.

As university staff at a public college, this means that Salsbury, like all faculty and university staff, is subject to the gag rule in the Act.

The university says the intention was not to establish a new university policy, but to guide faculty on the new regulations, as it said in an explanatory note sent by President Scott Green.

However, many have not taken it that way, as the UI hits country headlines and receives feedback from members of the community. President Joe Biden denounced the university for what he called “extreme and backward”.

Since the note’s publication, several institutions and speakers have spoken out against the note and the Idaho Act, including speakers from the Women’s Center, ASUI members, and protesters in early October.

Luigi Boschetti, chairman of the trade union of the UI departments, is against the note, as well as against Idaho law. Boschetti pointed out in his speech in protest that this act did not go beyond the norm for Idaho politics.

“This is no exception,” said Boschetti.

Boschetti said this in relation to the law the legislature tried to pass last year on the censorship of librarians. Boschetti said these censorship attempts are very typical of “authoritarian regimes,” something he has repeatedly called the Idaho Republican Party.

“This is an extremely authoritarian movement,” said Boschetti. “Where they not only pass laws with the extreme criminalization of abortion, but also close any possible debate.”

Many people are demanding that the law be repealed as a violation of civil liberties. Currently, the ACLU in Idaho wants to talk to affected students, faculty and staff as part of their safe admission line to build a case against him. Updates on the case can be found on its website.

Despite its plight, Salsbury remains committed to the women of UI.

“We’re still here,” said Salsbury. “We will continue to do everything we can to support students within the law.”

Abigail Spencer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ABairdSpencer

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