The Justice Department announced the establishment of the Reproductive Rights Task Force on Wednesday, formalizing an existing working group, along with the efforts by the DOJ over the last several months to identify ways to protect access to reproductive healthcare in anticipation of the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta will chair the Task Force, which will consist of representatives from the Department’s Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney community, Office of the Solicitor General, Office for Access to Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Policy, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Associate Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General and Office of the Attorney General and will be supported by dedicated staff.
According to a statement from the DOJ, the Task Force will monitor and evaluate all state and local legislation and enforcement actions that threaten to:
-Infringe on federal legal protections relating to the provision or pursuit of reproductive care;
-Impair women’s ability to seek reproductive care in states where it is legal;
-Impair individuals’ ability to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states;
-Ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy; or
Impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who provide reproductive health services in a manner authorized by federal law.
The Justice Department is launching a “reproductive rights task force” in response to the Dobbs ruling.
— The Recount (@therecount) July 13, 2022
“The Task Force will identify such actions and coordinate appropriate federal government responses, including proactive and defensive legal action where appropriate,” reads the DOJ’s statement. The Task Force will also”work with agencies across the federal government to support their work on issues relating to reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare.”
Very proud of Vanita Gupta’s leadership at DOJ to help fill the breach on reproductive rights created by the Supreme Court. https://t.co/5LeklGqep7
— Janai Nelson (@JNelsonLDF) July 13, 2022
“Recognizing that the best way to protect reproductive freedom is through congressional action, the Task Force will also coordinate providing technical assistance to Congress in connection with federal legislation to codify reproductive rights and ensure access to comprehensive reproductive services,” the statement says. “It will also coordinate the provision of technical assistance concerning Federal constitutional protections to states seeking to afford legal protection to out-of-state patients and providers who offer legal reproductive healthcare.”