Jul 12, 2022 - Health

Justice Department establishes task force to protect abortion access

Picture of Vanita Gupta

Associate attorney general Vanita Gupta. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it has established a task force to identify ways for the federal government to protect abortion access now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: The Reproductive Rights Task Force, led by associate attorney general Vanita Gupta, will monitor how states continue to ban or restrict abortion and determine how the Biden administration can respond, including through legal challenges.

What they're saying: "As Attorney General [Merrick] Garland has said, the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision is a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States," Gupta said in a statement.

  • “The Court abandoned 50 years of precedent and took away the constitutional right to abortion, preventing women all over the country from being able to make critical decisions about our bodies, our health, and our futures. The Justice Department is committed to protecting access to reproductive services.”

The big picture: Since the Roe reversal, the Biden administration has taken steps to respond to the ruling, including an executive order from President Biden, and clarifying guidance from the Department of Health and Human Services saying that health providers will be protected when performing abortions in emergency situations.

  • HHS had said it was also working with DOJ to "ensure that states may not ban medication abortion" since abortion pills are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
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