The Department of Justice announced the formation of a Reproductive Rights Task Force on Tuesday aimed at protecting abortion access and enforcing federal laws on reproductive rights, in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last month (in a 5-4 decision).
According to a news release, the task force will be made of representatives from various DOJ departments — the U.S. attorney's offices, the Civil Rights Division, and the Office of the Solicitor General.
The task force will be led by Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. She says the Justice Department is "committed to protecting access to reproductive services."
On June 24, the Supreme Court cleared a path for states to restrict or ban abortion access.
"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," Gupta said in a statement.
The DOJ says the Reproductive Rights Task Force will monitor state and local laws that "infringe on federal protections for reproductive care; impair a woman's ability to seek abortion care in states where it is legal; ban federally approved abortion medication or prevent federal employees from accessing abortion care."
Simply put, the task force "formalizes an existing working group and efforts by the Department over the last several months" to enforce federal laws and protect abortion access, according to the DOJ statement.
Last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order instructing the Department of Health and Human Services to protect and expand access to abortion through medication shipped by mail.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has already stated that he would enforce the protection of abortion medication, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
To date, the Biden administration has resisted calls to allow abortion access on federal lands, or declare a public health emergency after several states took official steps to restrict access to abortion.
In recent weeks, the president has pushed Congress to codify abortion rights.
But according to Andrew Napolitano, a former justice with the New Jersey Supreme Court, Democrats have already missed their window to codify Roe v. Wade.
"Neither the Congress nor the federal courts have any authority whatsoever on [changing] abortion," Napolitano told Newsmax on June 24, the day of the Supreme Court's overturning of the Roe case.
From Napolitano's perspective, Biden was wrong to say the striking down of Roe v. Wade took away a "fundamental constitutional right" to abortion in this country.
"There's a constitutional right to 'privacy' and the 'decision to have an abortion,'" Napolitano explained. "But both [Roe v. Wade] and [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] were very clear: There's not a constitutional right to an abortion; and it's not in the Constitution."
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