Jun 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

White House warns against using federal lands for abortion care

Picture of Karine Jean-Pierre

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that there could be "dangerous ramifications" to providing abortions on federal lands in an effort to go around the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Why it matters: With Roe gone, states have the authority to regulate abortion at any point in a pregnancy. As a result, progressives have called on the Biden administration to consider building abortion facilities on federal lands located in red states.

What she's saying: Jean-Pierre was asked if the White House is considering those options and if they could enter an agreement with indigenous tribes to use their lands for providing abortions.

  • "[W]e understand that this proposal is well-intentioned, but here's the thing: It could actually put women and providers at risk. And importantly, in states where abortion is now illegal, women and providers who are not federal employees, as you look at the federal land, could potentially be prosecuted," Jean-Pierre said.
  • "There's actually dangerous ramifications to doing this."

Between the lines: Vice President Kamala Harris told CNN on Monday that the administration is not currently discussing the use of federal lands to provide abortion care.

State of play: Advocates say that Roe's fall could "lead to a flood of unsafe abortions, health problems and deaths for Native American women, who suffer some of the highest rates of sexual violence in the U.S. and are two times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women," Axios' Shawna Chen reports.

  • Additionally, while Native Americans receive health care through the federal Indian Health Service, the Hyde Amendment blocks the use of federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or if the pregnant person's life is at risk.

Go deeper: Indigenous women fear for their safety in a post-Roe America

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