The reality is setting in among pro-abortion zealots that they don’t have the power to simply override the landmark Supreme Court ruling to overrule Roe v. Wade that dropped on Friday. That means the big brains are coming up with ideas to try to undercut and get around it.
One such idea is rising to the top of the discussion, and it’s as insanely stupid as you’d imagine. You’ll also be less than shocked to learn it’s being pushed by intellectual titans like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Daniel Goldman, the latter of which was the main Democrat lawyer in Trump’s first impeachment.
The “creative” idea here is to have the federal government, which currently has no legal mandate to provide abortions, provide them on federal property, including in places like VA hospitals. But I don’t think you need to be a lawyer to see the obvious flaws in that plan.
Clearly, as Goldman notes, the Hyde Amendment is an issue, as providing abortions with federal resources is currently illegal. Yet, even if we assume Democrats could get the votes to repeal the provision, a big stretch given Sen. Joe Manchin’s position on the issue, the idea of tasking the feds with running baby killing rings in states that outlaw the procedure is asinine.
The issue becomes in how federal and state laws interact. The suggestion here appears to be that Joe Biden can order abortions to take place on federal enclaves (such as military bases or in national parks) in violation of state laws against the practice. At the very least, that’s an extremely complicated issue, but given that federal law doesn’t address a range of criminal activity, including performing abortions, it appears that state laws would then apply.
There’s also the issue of jurisdiction over any individual person getting an abortion on federal property. Obviously, military members on a military base are subject to the UCMJ, which includes a host of federal laws that would preempt state laws. But what about doctors theoretically performing abortions at a VA hospital? And what federal law allows VA hospitals to offer care to those outside of their mandate (i.e. veterans) anyway?
“VA hospitals can offer abortions to anyone who walks in off the street if Joe Biden tells them to” is literally not a thing that exists and it astounds me that there are people who think it does.
Lastly, there’s a litany of issues regarding the reserve rights of states over various lands they’ve sold to the government. These are big questions that stand in the way of Biden simply signing his name on an order and providing abortions on various federal properties.
But putting all that aside, and assuming I’m wrong about how things would play out legally, any plan to provide abortions in states that outlaw them is incredibly dangerous on a societal level. The fabric of the nation still matters, and having the federal government use taxpayer money to violate state law, giving the middle finger to that state’s residents on abortion, would be a huge pressure point. The last thing the United States needs is for the temperature to rise further among various political factions.
In short, these kinds of desperate attempts to undermine the Supreme Court need to wither on the vine. They are both stupid and dangerous, and if someone is desperate to get an abortion, they are welcome to drive to one of the many states that still allow them. What we don’t need is the federal government spitting in the face of states that have made a different choice. To do that would lead nowhere good.