Biden begs colleges to keep giving out birth control after Idaho memo

Biden begs colleges to keep giving out birth control after Idaho memo

President Biden urged college administrators Tuesday to continue to distribute contraception after the University of Idaho’s top lawyer issued a memo saying that a state abortion law no longer allowed it.

“Officials at the University of Idaho say they should stop providing contraception … In fact, they told the university staff that they could get in trouble just for talking or telling students about where they can get birth control,” Biden said at a White House event.

“Folks, what century are we in? I mean, what are we doing? I respect everyone’s view on this, the personal decisions they make, but my Lord, we’re talking about contraception here,” the president added.

“It shouldn’t be that controversial. But this is what it looks like when you start to take away the right of privacy.”

Biden was joined by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the legal fallout from the Supreme Court’s June decision to return the issue of abortion to the states.

“I’ve asked Education Secretary Cardona to look at the steps that we can take to protect college students and school employees in Idaho or other states where their access to contraception is at risk,” Biden went on. “And my message to any other college considering enacting policies like this: Don’t, please don’t.”

President Joe Biden wants colleges to continue giving out birth control.
Getty Images/Drew Angerer
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (R), U.S. President Joe Biden
Biden discussed the legal fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision to return the issue of abortion to the states.
Getty Images/Drew Angerer

Cardona said following Biden’s remarks, “Students need access to health care to thrive in school and in life, and that includes reproductive health care.”

The education secretary added that “the Dobbs ruling has sown fear and confusion on our college campuses [and] I worry about the chilling effects this uncertainty, including about access to birth control, will have on students.”

The University of Idaho’s general counsel said last month that the public college, which has more than 8,000 undergraduate students, can no longer freely promote birth control because a state law says, “Every person … who willfully publishes any notice or advertisement … for the prevention of conception … is guilty of a felony.”

Biden and Harris along with members of his cabinet attend the second meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access on Oct. 4, 2022.
AFP via Getty Images/ Saul Loeb

A campus-wide memo said, “the university and its employees should be aware of the potential risks and penalties associated with conduct that may be perceived to violate the laws.”

The University of Idaho reportedly is still permitted pursuant to the memo to give out condoms for the purpose of preventing sexually transmitted infections, but not for the goal of preventing pregnancy.

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