Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Associate Attorney General Gupta Delivers Remarks at the Convening of the Reproductive Rights Task Force

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Thank you, Attorney General Garland. I am grateful for your clear-eyed leadership and continued support on these issues. And thank you to the members of the Reproductive Rights Task Force. 18 months into this effort, you and your components across the Department continue to work creatively and relentlessly to use all our available tools to protect reproductive rights, health, and justice.

There is no understating the devastation wrought by the Dobbs decision. It has impacted people and communities across the country, with the effects falling hardest on low-income people, people of color, and other vulnerable populations. With each day that passes, we see reports of new actions by states not only to restrict access to abortion within their jurisdiction but also to chill women from seeking abortion and other reproductive health services, even where they remain lawful.

We established this task force as a whole-of-Department effort to closely scrutinize these new, complex, and widespread threats to reproductive health for any infringements on federal protections. As the Attorney General has highlighted, we have not hesitated to act to vindicate these protections, be it through affirmative litigation, the Department’s ongoing (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) FACE Act enforcement, and our other work advising and defending the actions of federal agencies, such as the FDA in multiple challenges to the abortion medication mifepristone.

Among the emergent threats we are closely monitoring are actions of states, like Alabama, that infringe on the constitutional right to travel across state lines to obtain reproductive care that is legal in the destination state. The Civil Division’s recent filing makes clear that states may not criminalize third-party assistance for such interstate travel, particularly where the sole purpose of threatened prosecutions is to impede individuals’ exercise of their constitutional rights to travel.

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.

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