Acting AG Platkin, U.S. Attorney Sellinger Establish State-Federal Partnership to Ensure Protection of Individuals Seeking Abortion and Security of Abortion Providers

Partnership makes New Jersey the model for how to protect in- and out-of-state patients, health care workers, and providers, while promoting public awareness of legal protections for pregnant persons and coordinating intelligence sharing across law enforcement agencies

For Immediate Release: July 20, 2022

Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Acting Attorney General

For Further Information:

Media Inquiries-
Steven Barnes

NEWARK – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip Sellinger today announced a state-federal partnership designed to ensure access to reproductive health care for New Jersey residents and those from out of state who seek such care in the Garden State.  The partnership will also ensure state-federal collaboration to protect health care workers, increase security for providers of abortion care, and protect the data privacy rights of patients and those who assist individuals seeking reproductive health services.

In addition, Acting AG Platkin announced today that the Division of Criminal Justice within the Department of Law and Public Safety has issued guidance to all 21 of New Jersey’s County Prosecutors about charges they may bring against individuals who interfere with access to abortion rights. This guidance is a first step in coordinating with County Prosecutors and local law enforcement to ensure that individuals are held accountable for crimes committed against patients, providers, and clinics.

The announcement comes in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s extreme right-wing decision in Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overruled nearly half a century of settled precedent and held that the Constitution does not protect the right to an abortion.

The state-federal partnership will involve intelligence sharing between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP), and the State’s local, county, and state law enforcement partners. The New Jersey State Police will also provide time-sensitive information sharing and data analysis to law enforcement across all 21 New Jersey counties, and to federal partners.

In addition to investigating threats, intelligence sharing through this collaboration is anticipated to uncover misconduct that crosses state lines and exceeds the territorial restraints of state law enforcement and agencies. By maintaining our collaborative efforts, state-generated intelligence can support larger federal cases for both criminal and civil enforcement.

This state-federal partnership will also create joint public awareness and education programs, so that abortion patients, providers, and clinics are aware of their rights under the law and the resources available to secure and expand access to critical reproductive care.

The Acting Attorney General also announced today that OHSP will begin directing funds provided by the Reproductive Health Security Grant Program to high-risk reproductive health facilities so that they may improve security through, for example, target hardening and active shooter trainings.  The Reproductive Health Security Grant Program was created by Governor Murphy’s current budget, which the Legislature enacted and Governor Murphy signed into law last month.

“As other states impose draconian penalties on patients and health care professionals who seek or provide abortion care, New Jersey has chosen a very different path. We are using every available tool at our disposal to keep abortion patients and their providers safe,” said Acting AG Platkin. “We’re proud to work side-by-side with Governor Murphy, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the federal government to protect access to reproductive health care.”

“While the right to control one’s own body is central to individual freedom, the Court’s decision denies millions of women that right by preventing them from being able to make critical and highly personal decisions about their bodies, their health, and their futures,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said.

“Our Grants Management Bureau has been hard at work, collaborating with the Governor and his team to roll out a $5 million grant program that would assist healthcare providers who support reproductive services and who can demonstrate the greatest security risks,” said New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Laurie Doran. “The end goal of this grant program is to assess threats and vulnerabilities and award eligible healthcare providers with grant funding that would allow them to strengthen their security posture through target-hardening equipment purchases or added security personnel.”

“The Division of Criminal Justice is committed to protecting the right to choose in New Jersey and to protecting those who provide and receive reproductive services in our state,” said Pearl Minato, Director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we are creating a communication pipeline to create uniformity in enforcement across the state. Make no mistake, we will arrest, charge, and prosecute anyone who violates the laws in our state or attempts to interfere with access to care in New Jersey.”

“The Division of Consumer Affairs will use every available tool to protect the rights of individuals who receive and provide reproductive health care services in New Jersey and insulate them from unjust retaliation,” said Cari Fais, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “We are committed to upholding an individual’s right to choose by actively working to ensure that people in New Jersey can access reproductive health care without barriers.”

New Jersey as a National Model for Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Services:

This month, Acting AG Platkin established the Reproductive Rights Strike Force within the Department of Law & Public Safety to enforce the right to abortion access for New Jersey residents and those who travel to New Jersey from other states to seek abortion care. The Strike Force will use a range of civil and criminal enforcement tools to hold accountable individuals who threaten or intimidate patients or providers; hold accountable individuals who violate patient confidentiality requirements; and develop strategic initiatives and undertake investigations to secure private data of patients and providers and limit the sharing of personal health-related data with third parties.

In January of this year, the New Jersey State Legislature enacted and Governor Murphy signed into law the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codifies the fundamental right to an abortion in the state. As a result, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, abortion remains legal and protected in New Jersey.

And one week after the decision in Dobbs, the New Jersey Legislature passed, and Governor Murphy signed, two landmark laws furthering the State’s commitment to protecting abortion rights for New Jersey residents and anyone else who comes to New Jersey seeking abortion care. In order to ensure abortion access and address the shortage of abortion providers in the country, the Governor also signed a new state budget that included $5 million for the Division of Consumer Affairs overseen by the Office of the Attorney General to support abortion care training programs for students and current health professionals.

Examples of U.S. Attorney’s Office Actions to Protect Freedom of Access:

Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has, and will continue to, enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), a federal law passed in 1994 that prohibits anyone from obstructing access to reproductive health services through violence, threats of violence, or property damage. For example, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will take the appropriate enforcement action, whether civil or criminal, if anyone unlawfully obstructs access to reproductive health services, including abortion services, in New Jersey.

In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office newly created Civil Rights Division brings together civil and criminal prosecutors into one division and which includes a team of attorneys focused on protecting the important right for individuals to access reproductive health services throughout the District of New Jersey. The U.S. Attorney’s Office encourage anyone with knowledge of FACE Act violations to contact their civil rights hotline at (855) 281-3339.

And last week the U.S. Department of Justice announced the establishment of a Reproductive Rights Task Force, which will monitor and evaluate all state and local legislation and enforcement actions that, among other things, threaten to impair women’s ability to seek reproductive care in states – like New Jersey – where abortion is legal; impair individuals’ ability to inform and counsel each other about reproductive care that is available in other states; or ban Mifepristone on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy. The Task Force will also work with agencies across the federal government, including the U.S. Attorney community nationwide, on concrete actions that can be taken to strengthen reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare.


To learn more about your rights to access reproductive care in New Jersey, please click here to access the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s “Know Your Rights” fact sheet


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