With Roe v. Wade now overturned, reservations are being staked out for abortion facilities by Democrats looking for a way around red state abortion restrictions. However, Native Americans are not rushing to help build abortion destination villages on tribal lands. And why should they?
More than a century’s worth of federal programs aimed at population control have brought trauma and suffering to generations of indigenous people. It is painfully unsurprising that the same Congress, which a generation ago voted for the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970 resulting in forced sterilization of thousands of indigenous women and girls, now has more than two dozen members demanding the construction of federal abortion camps on tribal lands.
In anticipation of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 24 other U.S. senators sent a letter to President Joe Biden to demand that he “marshal the resources of the entire federal government” to set up abortion facilities on federal lands in states that do not have unlimited access to abortion. After the ruling, New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for “the babiest of babiest of baby steps … open abortion clinics on federal lands in red states.” By “federal lands,” they mean sovereign tribal nations, not Yellowstone Park as some embarrassed members now pathetically try to claim.
In what can only be categorized as “super-white privilege,” Warren, who for decades falsely identified as a Cherokee, didn’t bother to ask Native Americans if they wanted abortion camps built on their property before sending the letter to the president demanding that he greenlight the abortion camps. According to indigenous rights activist Rachael Lorenzo, not a single Native American tribe or group has asked for the facilities. As Lorenzo put it, “Why would we?”
The Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970 provided enhanced payments through Indian Health Services and Medicaid to sterilize women and girls. According to historian Briana Theobald, sterilizations were routinely “performed under duress, or without the women’s knowledge or understanding.”
Shockingly, some studies maintain that up to half of all women and girls of childbearing years were sterilized by the Indian Health Services during the 1970s. In one instance, two 15-year-olds experiencing pain were scheduled for tonsillectomies, but were sterilized as well. In another example, a 26-year-old woman had recently been married and wanted to start a family. However, unbeknownst to her, she was given a hysterectomy at age 20, when she was being treated for alcohol abuse disorder.
The senators also demand that Biden “explore the opportunities to provide vouchers for travel, childcare services, and other forms of support for individuals seeking to access abortion care that is unavailable in their home state.” Moreover, they are telling Biden to call on the Department of Defense to “assess the feasibility of moving military personnel and their families” as a “starting point.”
If federal abortion camps housing U.S. military members and their families are just the “starting point” of the senators’ plans for erecting abortion facilities on reservations, indigenous people have every right to be worried.
Matt Dean (email@example.com) is a senior fellow for Health Care Policy Outreach at the Heartland Institute.