Employees at the Department of Justice sent a letter to President Joe Biden demanding that they receive paid time off so that they can receive out-of-state abortions.
The letter was sent on Tuesday by the DOJ Gender Equality Network (DOJ GEN) and asks that Biden take action to grant out-of-state travel allowances if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
“The DOJ Gender Equality Network 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. We believe that there are actions the federal government, the nation’s largest employer, can take to mitigate the harm to Department of Justice employees and other federal workers.
“As an initial step,” the letter continues, “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.
“There are approximately 150,000 federal employees in Texas and Mississippi, where there is effectively no in-state abortion access today. There are another 227,000 federal employees in an additional 11 states with so-called trigger laws where people will immediately lose in-state access to abortion care if the Supreme Court overturns the constitutional protection currently afforded to abortion. There are also 290,000 federal employees in nine more states with abortion bans that could become enforceable, and 131,000 n four states that are expected to ban abortion as quickly as possible. Some of these states may also pass laws that would criminalize or complicate the provision of other reproductive healthcare services such as fertility treatments and various forms of contraception,” the letter continues.
DOJ GEN writes that the matter is of “critical” importance for “gender equity and equality for the Department of Justice and the federal government.”
The letter also states that they are troubled by the “disproportionate impact” that restrictions have on reproductive healthcare that would impact “employees of colour, those who work in remote locations, and those from other marginalized communities.”