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On Monday, Dec. 4, the Reproductive Rights Task Force (RRTF) provided a briefing to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Task Force Chair Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta on the Department’s work to protect reproductive freedom under federal law. The RRTF was created in July 2022, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, to formalize the Department’s ongoing work to protect reproductive rights.
“The Justice Department has been working to defend the reproductive freedoms that are protected by federal law,” Attorney General Garland said during his remarks. “As part of that work, we are continuing to vigilantly monitor state laws and enforcement actions that threaten to infringe on women’s reproductive rights.”
“There is no understating the devastation wrought by the Dobbs decision,” Associate Attorney General Gupta said in her remarks. “Our work on these matters is doubtless ongoing, but we remain committed to doing all we can to defend the constitutional right to travel, among other federal protections for reproductive freedom.”
The RRTF provided updates on the recent work of the Civil Division and the Office of the Solicitor General to defend reproductive rights in court, including by filing a statement of interest to protect the right to travel, defending the Food and Drug Administration’s expert decisions regarding the abortion drug mifepristone, and ensuring that women receive the emergency care to which they are entitled under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. The RRTF also described the Civil Rights Division’s recent work enforcing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, under which the Department has brought 24 cases against 55 defendants resulting in 23 convictions since January 2021; the Office of Legal Counsel’s work advising federal agencies as they consider policies and actions to preserve access to reproductive services; and the work of the Office of Legislative Affairs to assist Congress in drafting legislation to codify reproductive rights. The RRTF also discussed challenges ahead and expected work in the new year.
The Task Force will continue to work in the new year to protect reproductive rights and access.