For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 7, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced his plans to nominate Judge Merrick Garland as United States Attorney General and leader of the United States Department of Justice. Biden also announced plans to nominate civil rights leaders Vanita Gupta as associate attorney general and Kristen Clarke as assistant attorney general for civil rights.
NARAL Pro-Choice American President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“At a time when our democracy is under unprecedented threats and following violent insurrectionists wreaking havoc in our Nation’s Capital, it is more important than ever that we have an attorney general who will fight hard to uphold the rule of law and safeguard our democracy. Garland is a long-time public servant who was denied a seat on the Supreme Court as part of a partisan crusade against our democracy led by Mitch McConnell. If confirmed, we trust Garland will be unwavering in his commitment to seeking justice and enforcing federal laws that have a significant impact on reproductive and civil rights, including Title VII, Title IX, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and the Affordable Care Act, as well as core constitutional protections and abortion rights.
President-elect Biden’s nomination of prominent civil rights leaders Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke to leadership positions in the Department of Justice further underscores this administration’s commitment to undoing the damage of its predecessors and ensuring that every body is able to make their own decisions about their bodies, lives, and futures, with dignity. ”
Over the past four years, the Trump administration has used the Department of Justice to roll back our most fundamental rights and freedoms, doubling down on Trump’s unpopular agenda of power and control. Trump-appointed Jeff Sessions and William Barr were explicit about their efforts to undermine reproductive freedom and advance their anti-choice agenda. Barr said that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned. Barr also expressed skepticism about the right to privacy, and stated that he does not believe it “extends to abortion.” Sessions acted as a rubber-stamp for healthcare discrimination and worked to advance the refusal of care rule.
The U.S. attorney general is responsible for enforcing federal laws, including laws that directly impact reproductive freedom. If confirmed as attorney general, Judge Garland must take the following actions to uphold our nation’s federal laws:
- Demonstrate a clear commitment to core constitutional protections, including the legal right to abortion
- Combat and prevent violence and discrimination against reproductive healthcare providers, patients, and staff
- Enforce federal civil rights and nondiscrimination laws that have a serious impact on the lives and legal rights of women, low-income individuals, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, young people, immigrants, indigenous people, and other marginalized people
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.