- In the newly created role, the abortion rights advocate said she will ensure that both the state’s residents and visitors can access the full suite of sexual and reproductive health care.
Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell has named longtime abortion rights advocate Sapna Khatri as director of the newly launched Reproductive Justice Unit. It will focus on ensuring that “Massachusetts is a national leader on reproductive justice by expanding and protecting access to reproductive and gender-affirming care, addressing disparities in maternal health, tackling misinformation and disinformation that prevents access to care, working across state lines to respond to national attacks on reproductive health care, and championing and defending Massachusetts’ strong legal protections for reproductive rights,” according to a press release from the attorney general’s office. “The announcement comes in the face of continued nationwide legal challenges to reproductive health access in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which eliminated the federal right to an abortion,” the press release added.
At the unit’s launch on Oct. 2, Khatri told media that “by focusing on health equity and education, while centering community voices and partnering with stakeholders, both in and out of our state, our work can and will ensure that Massachusetts continues to lead the way,” The Boston Globe reported. She told reporters and reproductive justice advocates gathered at the press conference that while she’s been doing this work for “a while” in New England, she’s “very excited” to be in the Commonwealth and to make this her home.” Her vision for the office is “to ensure that both Massachusetts residents and visitors can access “the full suite of sexual and reproductive health care,” including “if, when, and how to have a family,” she said, according to The Globe.
In a statement in the attorney general’s press release, Khatri said she is “beyond grateful” for the opportunity to serve as director of the unit “whose mission is not only one I care deeply about but is critical in our fight for reproductive justice nationwide. She said she “looks 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.”
Before being named to this post, Khatri worked extensively in the areas of reproductive justice and privacy, the press release said. Most recently, she worked as a Sears Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of California Los Angeles, where she launched the school’s inaugural Reproductive Justice Externship Program. She also led efforts to establish the nation’s first Medical-Legal Partnership at a Planned Parenthood clinic, in partnership with the UCLA Law Center on Reproductive Health, Law. She also established Policy, the Black Health Initiative at Planned Parenthood Inglewood, and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Preceding her time at UCLA, she served as a law fellow in the Women and Reproductive Rights Project at the ACLU of Illinois and later as the organization’s Advocacy and Policy Counsel for privacy, technology, and surveillance matters.
She received her B.A. cum laude in International Studies and B.J. magna cum laude in Strategic Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2014 and her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. At WashU, Khatri was the Managing Editor of the Global Studies Law Review and captain of the competitive National Trial Team, and was awarded the sole distinction as the Public Service Student of the Year for her graduating class.