Posted BY: Alex Nitzberg
A coalition of Department of Justice employees is asking the Biden administration to direct federal agencies to give employees administrative leave to travel for abortions.
“The DOJ Gender Equality Network (DOJ GEN) is deeply concerned about the ability of hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their family members to access reproductive healthcare because of restrictive state laws that are already, or may soon be, in effect in their states,” the group’s letter declared. “We believe that there are actions the federal government … can take to mitigate the harm to Department of Justice employees and other federal workers.
“As an initial step, we ask that the Administration swiftly consider requiring federal agencies to grant administrative leave to cover the time it takes an employee, or an employee’s family member, to travel to another state to obtain reproductive healthcare services not available in their own state due to restrictive laws,” the DOJ GEN wrote in the letter.
DOJ GEN is listed on the DOJ website as an employee organization — the group’s Twitter account says that it is acknowledged by the Justice Department, but does not “speak for” the department. According to the group’s website, it “advocates for gender equity and equality in the federal government” and has more than 1,150 members around the country.
The letter was directed to Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and White House Gender Policy Council Chair Jennifer Klein.
A leaked Supreme Court draft opinion indicates that the high court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would allow states to ban abortions — some states already have trigger laws in place that would ban most abortions if such a ruling gets handed down.
A group of leftist lawmakers has urged Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to ensure that military service members will be able to travel to another state for an abortion if they are stationed in a place where there are restrictions in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling.
“At a minimum, you and your staff should consider implementing policy changes to allow servicemembers to obtain, for example, special liberty or permissive temporary additional duty permissions in order to travel out of state for reproductive healthcare and abortions if they are stationed in a jurisdiction that curtails these rights after the Dobbs decision is issued,” the lawmakers said in the letter.