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Statewide task force brings together legal and law enforcement partners to protect those seeking and providing abortions, other reproductive care
OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the launch of a statewide task force to protect and expand access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare. The California Reproductive Rights Task Force, led by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), is made up of district attorneys, county counsel, and city attorneys from across the state. The task force members will work together using their legal expertise and law enforcement powers to ensure that every corner of California is safe for those seeking or providing reproductive care.
"Today, I am proud to bring together our partners on this task force from across the state for one common goal: To preserve and strengthen our reproductive freedoms," said Attorney General Bonta. "Abortion is safe and legal in California, and we will keep fighting and working together to preserve access.”
“I’m honored to join Attorney General Rob Bonta in the fight to protect hard-won rights,” said Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton. “The Reproductive Rights Task Force is a powerful legal partnership that will be a bulwark in protecting women from harassment, deception, out-of-state punishment, and discrimination when making individual reproductive choices.”
“With women's reproductive health and freedom on the line in states across the nation, California’s role as a safe haven for reproductive freedom is more important than ever," said Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. "My office and I will continue to fight for women's bodily autonomy, including access to the full range of reproductive health care, and commend Attorney General Bonta for his statewide leadership."
“I believe every person seeking reproductive healthcare, and every person providing and supporting reproductive healthcare, is entitled to be treated with dignity and to engage in these essential healthcare services without fear of harassment or retaliation,” said Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker. “I am proud to join my counterparts throughout the state, and Attorney General Bonta, in standing up for this essential right.”
"I am grateful to the leadership and vision of Attorney General Bonta in pulling together this multi-disciplinary task force to address one of the most significant issues of our time,” said Sacramento City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood. “I am honored to stand shoulder to shoulder with this formidable group of people who are determined to protect access to reproductive health care, including abortion services in California."
“Every person has a right to access healthcare in a safe environment free from intimidation, deceptive practices, and the fear of prosecution,” said San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott. “That’s why an overwhelming majority of Americans support access to abortion. I’m proud to join other California officials in standing strong against those who would turn back the clock and put women’s lives in jeopardy.”
“Given the attacks on abortion rights across the country, it is crucial that we do all that we can in California to protect and expand reproductive rights," said San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu. "I look forward to participating in this Reproductive Rights Task Force and will continue to engage with our partners in the Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights to ensure the Bay Area is a safe haven for those seeking or providing abortion care.” The Legal Alliance for Reproductive Rights will connect pregnant people and abortion providers facing civil suits and criminal charges related to seeking or providing abortions in California and other states with member law firms who will represent them in a pro bono basis.
“I am proud to join Attorney General Bonta, my fellow district attorneys, and city attorneys from across the state to advance and protect reproductive rights in California,” said San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “Working together we will ensure that California provides safe access to care that is not undermined by scams and intimidation schemes designed to harass and threaten women, patients, and medical providers. We will prosecute any individuals who violate the law and harm people seeking care or medical providers.”
“Almost 30 years ago, I successfully prosecuted someone for trying to storm a Planned Parenthood and for criminally intimidating prospective patients,” said Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley. “It’s unimaginable that at this point, across our great country, woman have now been denied this fundamental right. I am committed to doing all I can to protect that right.”
“As the largest safety-net healthcare provider in Northern California, the County of Santa Clara offers critical access to reproductive healthcare for the most vulnerable in our region and beyond,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams. “My Office is pleased to join the Reproductive Rights Task Force and to partner with the Attorney General and other offices across California in protecting reproductive rights.”
The task force launched with 15 founding members, who represent a wide range of populations, geographic locations, and access to reproductive care in California. They are: DOJ, Alameda County District Attorney, Contra Costa District Attorney, Humboldt County District Attorney, Los Angeles City Attorney, Los Angeles County Counsel, Oakland City Attorney, Sacramento City Attorney, San Diego City Attorney, San Diego County District Attorney, San Francisco City Attorney, San Francisco County District Attorney, Santa Barbara County District Attorney, Santa Clara County Counsel, and Yolo County District Attorney.
Together, the task force members will use their expertise and enforcement powers to help with:
The task force will also meet and collaborate with state and federal agencies, local law enforcement, legislators, reproductive care providers, nonprofits, and academic centers.
Supporting, expanding, and protecting reproductive freedoms is a top priority for Attorney General Bonta. In October, Attorney General Bonta issued an information bulletin to California law enforcement on addressing out-of-state agencies who may seek to investigate, arrest or prosecute out-of-state patients seeking reproductive care in the state and those who assist with such care. Also in October, Attorney General Bonta led 23 attorneys general across the country in filing a letter supporting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ new rule establishing broader access to abortion care for veterans and their beneficiaries. In September, the Attorney General led a multistate coalition of 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting a motion by reproductive rights advocates seeking to halt enforcement of several Texas anti-abortion laws. Also in September, he issued a consumer alert to help Californians safeguard their privacy while accessing reproductive or abortion care. He also issued legal guidance on the prohibition of the extradition of individuals providing or accessing reproductive care in California. In June, the Attorney General issued guidance on abortion rights and protections under California law, which remain fully intact, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. In preparation for the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Attorney General Bonta issued an information bulletin to law enforcement to remind them of state laws protecting access to reproductive healthcare and security for providers. He also issued a consumer alert warning Californians seeking reproductive health services about the limited and potentially misleading nature of the services provided by crisis pregnancy centers, and emphasized health apps’ obligations under California law to protect and secure reproductive health information.