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La date de publication est 2023-10-02 15:00:00.
Attorney General Andrea Campbell announced the launch of the office’s reproductive justice unit Tuesday with the appointment of longtime abortion rights advocate Sapna Khatri as the unit’s first director.
“We must meet the escalating anti-science, extremist attacks on our basic right to bodily autonomy with bold and comprehensive action,” Campbell said in a statement. “I am confident that, under [Khatri’s] leadership, Massachusetts will be a north star in showing just what is possible when people are free to make decisions for themselves about their bodies, lives, families, and futures with dignity and respect.”
The unit is tasked with protecting and expanding access to abortion and reproductive healthcare, in addition to gender-affirming care and postpartum maternal health. Campbell said she intends for the unit to become a national leader, collaborating with attorneys general in other states to respond to national attacks on reproductive rights, reduce racial disparities in maternal care, and combat abortion misinformation that prevents access to care.
Campbell’s creation of the unit comes as nearly half of the states have restricted or banned access to abortion in the wake of last year’s US Supreme Court ruling eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after almost 50 years.
Khatri’s appointment marks a critical step for Campbell in staffing new specialized units she promised to deliver on the campaign trail. Tuesday’s announcement follows the appointment of Mary Freeley in August to lead the office’s Elder Justice Unit, focused on tackling elder abuse, including the manipulation and financial exploitation of the elderly. In May, Campbell also announced heads of the office’s existing criminal, environmental, government, healthcare, and public protection bureaus.
“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to serve as Director of AG Campbell’s Reproductive Justice Unit, a unit whose mission is not only one I care deeply about, but critical in our fight for reproductive justice nationwide,” Khatri said in a statement Tuesday. “I look forward to using my experience as a reproductive justice advocate to help AG Campbell lead this fight and collaborate with community organizations, health care providers, and legal experts across the Commonwealth.”
Khatri comes to Massachusetts from the West Coast, where she helped establish the country’s first medical-legal partnership at Planned Parenthood, working with the University of California – Los Angeles law school’s reproductive health center, the Black Health Initiative at Planned Parenthood Inglewood, and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.
Khatri was also a clinical teaching fellow at UCLA for two years, launching the school’s inaugural Reproductive Justice Externship Program. She has additionally worked on reproductive justice and privacy law at the ACLU of Illinois, according to her LinkedIn.
While the announcement of Khatri’s leadership marks the official launch of the unit, Campbell stressed that her office has already been working to champion the expansion of reproductive and maternal health services statewide. In August, she awarded $1.5 million in grants to clinics, health centers, and other organizations focused on eliminating disparities in maternal care, which includes access to doulas, behavioral and mental health services, and breastfeeding support. Shortly after her inauguration, Campbell also launched a hotline with the nonprofit Reproductive Equity Now to provide confidential legal advice for women seeking abortions.
Ivy Scott can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her @itsivyscott.
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