US law protects RU486, crossing state lines for abortion, says Garland

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Attorney General Merrick Garland reported Friday that in response to the Supreme Court’s landmark decision allowing states to limit or ban abortions, the Justice Department is bracing for legal battles over a host of related issues – from women traveling to states where procedures are legal, access to pills that can induce abortions.

There is little the Justice Department can do to alter the impact of the Supreme Court ruling, which is now the law of the land and is expected to dramatically restrict abortion access in 13 states in the near term. As conservative-leaning state legislatures respond to the ruling, similar restrictions are likely to spread to another dozen states.

“This decision is a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States,” Garland said. in a report.

Abortion will soon be banned in 13 states. Here’s what comes next.

But Garland, a former federal appeals court judge, also set important markers for how Biden’s Justice Department will handle legal responses to the ruling, such as states trying to pass laws preventing women to travel to other states for abortions.

Garland said “fundamental constitutional principles” protect women’s rights to seek reproductive care in states where abortions remain legal. New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul immediately declared her state a “safe harbor” for those seeking abortions.

Garland also pointed out that abortion counseling must be permitted even in states where abortion is prohibited, calling it a “fundamental” First Amendment principle that “individuals should remain free to inform themselves and to advise each other on reproductive care available in other countries.” states.”

The stern and lengthy statement from the nation’s top law enforcement official shows that the Justice Department, like many advocates on both sides of the abortion debate, expects Friday’s ruling to lead a flurry of new state laws — and therefore legal battles — on abortion. related issues.

The department, Garland promised, “will work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom.” He also noted that the Biden administration wants Congress to pass legislation to restore abortion rights nationwide.

Garland said the department stands ready to work with the FDA to ensure American women have access to mifepristone, often called the abortion pill.

Many Republican legislatures have attempted to ban prescribing or mailing pills, but some women have been able to circumvent these restrictions. The United States, Garland said, “cannot ban mifepristone because of a disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment on its safety and efficacy.”

The attorney general said federal agencies “may continue to provide reproductive health services to the extent authorized by federal law,” — an indication that there could be a new wave of legal battles over what type of care to take. reproductive health that can be provided by physicians working for the federal government.

“Few rights are more essential to individual liberty than the right to control one’s own body,” Garland said.