Nearly 40 leading pro-life groups called on Congress to reject proposals to set up abortion facilities on federal lands in an effort to sidestep red-state restrictions, arguing that such a plan would violate the Constitution.
The letter Monday to House and Senate members comes as Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York have advocated performing abortions on military bases and other federal installations in states that prohibit most procedures.
“The stated plans to force abortion into states where voters and their representatives have recognized the humanity of preborn children and passed laws to protect them represent both a coercive abuse of power and a proposed misuse of federal property,” the letter said.
“We the undersigned join together calling on members of Congress to prevent taxpayer funded properties from being perversely turned into abortion vendors,” the activist groups wrote.
White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre appeared to shoot down the idea at a June 28 press briefing, saying it could have “dangerous ramifications,” such as the potential prosecution of women and abortion providers who aren’t federal employees.
Even so, Ms. Warren isn’t dropping the plan.
She tweeted on July 6 that the “Biden administration should explore every option, including leasing federal lands, to protect reproductive health care.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra didn’t rule out the idea of temporary clinics on federal land in a July 5 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” saying that “we’re going to do everything we can to give people something as quickly as we can.”
“I think we’re continuing to explore everything that’s out there,” Mr. Becerra said. “The difficulty is that simply because it’s an idea doesn’t mean it can go out into practice. What we want to make sure is that we can put things out into practice.”
The Supreme Court overturning Roe — and Republican-controlled states criminalizing abortion — has endangered millions of women.
The Biden administration should explore every option, including leasing federal lands, to protect reproductive health care.https://t.co/ZsIDgiUZx5
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 6, 2022
In their letter, however, the pro-life groups argued that using Enclave Clause under Article 1, as some have suggested, would need the consent of the relevant state legislature.
“This clause has also been construed to cover all structures necessary to carry on the business of the national government, such as post offices, locks, and dams,” said the letter.
“However, the language of the Clause requires that such land be ceded by the state and accepted by Congress or purchased with consent of the state legislature. Such lands in federal hands are subject to limitations,” they wrote.
The Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision included annually in the federal budget, bans federal funds from being used to pay for abortions, although one suggested end-run would be to lease the property to a third party such as Planned Parenthood.
“Our legal analysis shows why any plan to misuse federal lands for abortion must be rejected,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, which led the letter. “This is one of many bad ideas being circulated on Capitol Hill and in the media, which needs to be addressed.”
Other signers include the leaders of SBA Pro-Life America; the Alliance Defending Freedom; Americans United for Life; Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee; Live Action; March for Life Action; the Radiance Foundation; and Advancing American Freedom, founded by former Vice President Mike Pence.
Radical Leftists believe in abortion at all costs. AOC, Senator Warren, & the rest of the Genocide Squad have proposed opening abortion facilities on federal land.
My bill ensures that extremists won’t be able to use federal lands to enact their evil plan.https://t.co/Cw4uUnkCDN
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) July 1, 2022
Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican, introduced a bill on July 1 that would bar the federal government from setting up abortion clinics on federal land, including military bases, national parks, national forests, public lands or agency buildings.
“This far-left legal theory has no place in America, and Congresswoman Boebert’s bill will put a stop to it before it begins,” said the press release on H.R. 8263, which has 20 Republican cosponsors.