Idaho abortion laws back at center stage with comments from President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris

Posted at 11:44 AM, Oct 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-05 13:44:51-04

IDAHO — The White House once again shines a light on Idaho's strict abortion laws with comments from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Both Biden and Harris took aim at the University of Idaho during the second meeting of the administration's task force on reproductive healthcare access following the university's memo advising staff to avoid abortion services and birth control discussions.

"My message to any other college considering enacting policies like this: Don’t. Please don’t," Biden said. "We’re not going to sit by and let republicans throughout the country enact extreme policies to threaten access to basic healthcare."

University of Idaho issued guidance to faculty and staff in a memo sent out last week, warning employees to not offer or "advertise" abortion services or birth control. The university referenced a law written in 1867, 23 years before Idaho officially became a state.

Biden said he asked U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to look into the issue to see what steps can be taken to protect student's and employees access to contraception.

Related: Abortion info fight targets university but affects far more

Biden signed an executive order in July with the intention of protecting access to contraceptives.

Harris took it one step further and said if there were a national law passed in congress, leaders could not restrict access to contraception, among other rights.

"We already see, by the way, our early warnings of that taking place," Harris said. "For example, what’s happening at the University of Idaho, which is refusing to provide contraception to their students. It’s already starting."

The University of Idaho decision was also slammed by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre shortly after the memo was released. Jean-Pierre said Idaho's laws are ambiguous but do not deny a student's access to contraception and the state's abortion laws speak to the quote "unacceptable consequences of extreme abortion bans."