American Federation of Teachers union affiliates and professors at the University of Idaho and Boise State University are asking a judge to rule that an Idaho antiabortion law can’t inhibit their teaching, scholarship and other academic speech.
Their lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Idaho’s Southern Division, says the professors “teach about abortion across a diverse array of disciplines. They file this suit to challenge Idaho’s criminal prohibition on any speech by a public employee—including academic instruction, discussion and research at Idaho’s public universities—that expresses a viewpoint favorable to abortion.”
“Idaho’s No Public Funds for Abortion Act (‘NPFAA’) prohibits the use of public funds to ‘promote abortion’ or ‘counsel in favor of abortion’—bans that are simultaneously sweeping and unclear,” the suit says.
They’re suing Idaho’s Republican attorney general and three county prosecuting attorneys. The attorney general didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
American Civil Liberties Union attorneys are among those representing the professors and unions.
“The law does not define the terms ‘promote’ or ‘counsel in favor of,’ which are expansive and highly subjective,” the ACLU said on its website. “For example, these terms could potentially encompass discussions about proposed legislation to scale back Idaho’s criminalization of abortion; objective public health data or statistical analyses that imply advantages to abortion access; or discussion of medical, social or familial circumstances where abortion might improve health outcomes.”