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The DOJ Is Creating A ‘Reproductive Rights Task Force.’ Here’s What We Know

President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is forming a “Reproductive Rights Task Force” to monitor state and local abortion restrictions, the agency announced Tuesday.

The task force will track state and local legislation that restricts women’s ability to seek abortions or seeks to legally penalize medical workers who perform abortions in a manner consistent with federal law, according to the DOJ announcement. The unit will also collaborate with other federal agencies and take steps to secure and promote abortion access, “including proactive and defensive legal action where appropriate.”

The initiative is undertaken in collaboration with “external stakeholders such as reproductive services providers, advocates and state attorneys general.” It’s not clear who exactly these stakeholders are.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said the decision was an effort to protect abortion access in light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

“The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision is a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States,” Gupta said in the announcement. “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 DOJ will monitor and evaluate state and local policies that threaten to infringe on federally-mandated abortion protections, including policies that go against Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance regarding the safety of the abortion drug Mifepristone or that penalize advising individuals about getting abortions in other states.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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