A group of Department of Justice (DOJ) employees is pushing for paid off time should they need to travel out of state abortions.
The DOJ Gender Equity Network (DOJ GEN) sent a letter on Wednesday to government personnel and management agencies saying it is “deeply concerned about the ability of hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families to access reproductive healthcare because of restrictive state laws that are already, or may soon be, in effect in their states.”
The letter comes after a draft Supreme Court majority opinion was leaked showing the court is set to overturn Roe v. Wade. The draft was not a final ruling as the decision is expected this summer.
Many Democratic states have since accelerated efforts to expand abortion access, while Republican states are looking to restrict it should the landmark decision be overturned.
The letter points to states such as Texas and Mississippi, where it is already extremely difficult to obtain an abortion.
“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 letter says.
The employees added that restrictive abortion laws will disproportionately affect marginalized communities and people who work in remote areas.
The DOJ GEN said its proposed policy to give time off for abortions would align with other large companies that have announced they would cover travel costs for those looking to get abortions if they live in states that restricts the procedure.
Those companies include huge employers such as Amazon, Citigroup, Lyft and Starbucks.
“DOJ GEN appreciates the Administration’s commitment to strengthening the federal workforce and protecting Americans’s access to reproductive healthcare,” the letter concludes. “We welcome the opportunity to discuss how this action would advance both priorities, and how we can secure it as quickly as possible.”
The letter was sent to White House Gender Policy Council Chairwoman Jennifer Klein, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, and Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja.
The Hill has reached out to the White House and Office of Personnel Management for comment.
Source: The Hill