North Idaho

Abortion info fight targets university but affects far more

A University of Idaho memo warning staffers not to refer students to abortion or birth control providers has placed the school at the center of a debate over First Amendment rights and access to reproductive health care. But UI Provost Torrey Lawrence says the school was just trying to protect employees from punitive state laws. One of the laws bars the use of state funds to promote or endorse abortion or emergency contraception. Another makes it illegal for non-health care providers to advertise abortions or birth control. It's not clear exactly how the laws apply to the rest of Idaho's approximately 900,000 state employees, or if they affect others who get state funds like foster parents.