Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday the White House is not currently considering opening abortion clinics on federal lands in states that have banned the procedure — an idea progressives have begun tossing after the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade the last time. the week.
“That’s not what we’re discussing right now,” Harris told CNN’s Dana Bash, who asked her if it was something she and President Joe Biden were considering as an option.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have urged the White House in recent days to consider federal land opportunities in red states, where millions of people lost access to nearby abortion care.
“I think one of the things that we also know is that there are also actions available to President Biden that he can mobilize. I’ll start with the smallest of the smallest baby steps: opening abortion clinics on federal lands in red states right now. Right now,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a Friday protest in New York.
Warren made similar remarks at a rally in Boston that day, saying the White House and Congress should “explore how much we can start to use federal lands as a way to protect people in need.” access to abortion in all states that have banned abortion or are clearly on the verge of doing so.
The federal government owns more than a quarter of the land in the United States, with most of it concentrated in the West. In Utah, one of the first states to enact its “ban on inducing abortion,” more than 60 percent of the land is federally owned. Wyoming, Idaho and Arizona ― three other states hostile to abortion rights ― also have large proportions of land owned by the federal government.
But Harris said the Biden administration is focused on ensuring people can still access abortions in places where clinics remain open, saying what’s “most important right now” is “that we let us do all we can to enable women not only to seek but to receive”. care where available.
People who need abortions in states where it has been or will soon be banned can only access the procedure if they can afford out-of-state travel costs, which includes transportation, accommodation, lost wages and child care.
Bash asked Harris if the Biden administration is willing to offer “financial resources, some form of travel voucher, child care” to people who need that help. Harris acknowledged the need but made no firm commitment.
“We want to make sure there is [will not be] extreme disparities … based on who can get care based on how much money they have,” she said.
The Vice President also reaffirmed that the Biden administration opposes any state that attempts to punish people for helping a patient travel to another state for an abortion, and she added that the Justice Department will challenge these laws in court.
The Huffington Gt