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Despite White House Denials, GOP Bill Attempts to Prevent Abortion Facilities on Federal Land

July 5, 2022 by Kate Michael
Despite White House Denials, GOP Bill Attempts to Prevent Abortion Facilities on Federal Land

WASHINGTON — Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., may be writing op-eds in the New York Times and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., calling on the government to declare a medical emergency and “open abortion clinics on federal lands in red states right now,” but the Biden administration continues to reiterate that there are no plans to do that.

Still, Republican members of Congress don’t believe it.

Just before the July 4th holiday, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., introduced legislation specifically to prohibit any head of a federal agency or department from leasing certain federal property to abortion providing organizations.

The ‘leasing’ language is key. 

Despite some progressives calling for the Biden administration to build abortion facilities on federal lands, officials have been adamant that there is no plan in place for this. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre explained to reporters on June 28, during a briefing on Air Force One en route to the NATO summit in Spain from the G7 in Germany, that there could be “dangerous ramifications” to efforts to circumvent the Supreme Court’s recent overruling of Roe v. Wade, specifying that it puts women and providers at risk of prosecution, even on federal land, since they are not federal employees. 

Vice President Kamala Harris also told CNN’s Dana Bash that the administration is not discussing this as an option.

The hurdle to using federal land is the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision that took effect in 1980 barring the use of federal funds to pay for abortion, except in limited cases — to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape. 

But many say the Hyde Amendment could be circumvented. So Republican House members are taking matters into their own hands legislatively.

Boebert’s recently introduced Protecting Life on Federal Lands Act would preclude the federal government from bypassing the Hyde Amendment by leasing lands to outside abortion providers. Because while the Hyde Amendment prohibits the federal government from funding an abortion facility, it does not expressly forbid the government from leasing space to one. 

Newsstands, cafeterias, and other service providers inside federal buildings like courthouses, post offices, and even IRS tax processing facilities, operate independent businesses within this government property and are not always subject to all of the requirements to which the government itself must adhere.

Some Republicans believe the administration may be open to identifying spaces in federal buildings or on national lands which could evade the Hyde Amendment, especially in those states that have outlawed abortion, and contracting a provider such as Planned Parenthood to provide abortion services there without state criminal liability.

Dodging the Hyde Amendment isn’t guaranteed even in this scenario; legal challenges are certain. While it is highly unlikely the bill could pass, Boebert’s Protecting Life on Federal Lands Act would codify that such leases would be outside of the law. 

“The radical left believes in abortion at all costs. AOC, Warren, and the rest of the genocide squad will not rest until every baby in America is at risk. Democrats want Americans to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, see the wonders of God’s creation, and then after a day of hiking stop by an abortion mill and kill their baby,” Boebert said. 

According to Boebert’s office, co-sponsors to the bill include Reps. Doug Lamborn. R-Colo., Ken Buck, R-Colo., Mary Miller, R-Ill., Jody Hice. R-Ga., Bob Good. R-Va., Jeff Duncanr-S.C., Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Ralph Norman, R-S.C., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., Bill Posey, R-Fla. and Randy Weber, R-Texas.

Kate can be reached at kate@thewellnews.com

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