Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to use America’s beautiful national parks to erect abortion clinics.
What did Warren say?
Speaking with a Washington Post reporter on Monday, Warren said the federal government, presumably using taxpayer dollars, should establish abortion mills in national parks after the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
“They could put up tents, have trained personnel — and be there to help people who need it,” Warren said. “It’s time to declare a medical emergency.”
The suggestion comes as Democrats look to bolster abortion services in a post-Roe world.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Warren suggested that President Joe Biden should take action “to make abortion as available as possible with the tools he has, including medication abortion, including using federal lands as a place where abortions can occur.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has echoed the idea.
VP Kamala Harris sits down with CNN for her first interview after Roe overturn
Vice President Kamala Harris, however, disclosed in an interview that aired Monday the Biden administration is not considering using federal lands for abortion.
“I think that what is most important right now is that we ensure that the restrictions that the states are trying to put up that would prohibit a woman from exercising what we still maintain is her right, that we do everything we can to empower women to not only seek but to receive the care where it is available,” she told CNN.
When CNN host Dana Bash asked whether federal land “is one of those options,” Harris replied, “I mean, it’s not right now what we are discussing.”
Meanwhile, a senior White House official told the Washington Post that Biden cannot act unilaterally to legalize abortion. The official said that “only Congress can fix the situation.”
But what is the problem?
There is one major problem with Warren’s plan to use federal lands for abortion: The Hyde Amendment.
“The Hyde Amendment is a provision of federal law that limits the federal government’s ability to spend federal money on abortions, except in limited cases of rape or incest or where necessary to save the life or health of the mother,” explained Leah Litman, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Law School, on a recent podcast.
“So one possible thing the Supreme Court might do is say, ‘Actually, the federal government can’t do any of this because they’re spending money in violation of the Hyde Amendment,'” she added.
Vox, however, noted the federal government could circumvent the Hyde Amendment by allowing clinics to establish clinics on federal land without any federal dollars going toward the abortions. Still, even this would be legally questionable.