AOC Called for Abortion Clinics on Federal Land. But There Are Two Big Problems.

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has been tossing out ideas for how President Joe Biden could protect abortion access, including opening abortion clinics on federal lands. But that wouldn’t be an easy fix, explains Leah Litman, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Law School and co-host of Strict Scrutiny podcast.

“The Hyde Amendment is a provision of federal law that limits the federal government’s ability to spend federal money on abortions, except in limited cases of rape or incest or where necessary to save the life or health of the mother. So one possible thing the Supreme Court might do is say, ‘Actually, the federal government can’t do any of this because they’re spending money in violation of the Hyde Amendment,’” she tells Molly Jong-Fast on this episode of The New Abnormal podcast.

She then goes into the second roadblock for AOC’s plan, calling it “more troubling.”

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But AOC gets an “A” for effort from hosts Molly and Andy Levy, especially in light of the other responses from high-ranking Democrats, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to the SCOTUS ruling.

“The speaker of the House read a poem. That was her big thing and sent out or an email asking for money. A hundred fundraising emails,” says Andy. “Stop telling us that the solution to this is to vote because we all did that in 2020. And y’all are there now because we did that. So you don’t get to say that again. I’m sorry. We did our job. The job that you are telling us to do, we did it and it’s your turn to do your job. And I would like to see one of them in the leadership position actually recognize that and admit it.”

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On this latest episode, Robin Marty, director of operations for West Alabama Women’s Center, also tells Molly what she’s already seeing in her state after the decision, including allegations that hospitals are refusing to treat women whose lives are in danger, because they admitted they had an abortion.

“[A woman] went to her local hospital and her local hospital asked her if she’d had an abortion. And she said, ‘yes.’ And they literally would not see her. They said, ‘Go back to your clinic.’ So of course we took her in immediately and my doctor did a physical exam, just a basic physical exam, and quickly realized that she was having appendicitis,” recounted Marty. “We’re still looking at a huge amount of death. The difference is the people who are going to have abortions, honestly, will probably be the lucky ones.”

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