In the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last week, Democrats nationwide have been scrambling to ensure the right to an abortion remains available to all women seeking one. To do this, one idea is a proposal to keep access available on federal land even in states that ban abortion.

But as Democrats float this proposal, they are not finding support from the Biden administration due to legal reasons.

Prominent Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., have pitched the idea to supporters as a way to circumvent abortion bans in Republican-led states. But despite Biden’s own pledges to fight for abortion rights, this idea has not resonated strongly with his administration.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris was asked whether the administration would back Democrats if they pushed to allow abortion services on federal property. Harris said that the White House was not considering the option.

“It’s not, right now, what we are discussing,” Harris told CNN's Dana Bash.

A day later, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the idea “well-intentioned,” but she noted it carried legal risks if it was allowed in states where providing or seeking an abortion is criminalized. The concern, Jean-Pierre noted, was that it could expose federal employees to prosecution under state laws.

“As we understand why they would put forward this proposal, there’s actually dangerous ramifications to doing this,” she added.

Beyond these risks, political dynamics and the balance of power in Congress are also at play in the White House’s calculations. In her interview, Harris’ based her dismissal of the proposal in part on a recognition of the political reality that Democrats do not have the power to create a lasting solution to protect abortion rights in Congress.

Republicans are favored to win control of one or both houses of Congress in the upcoming midterm elections in November, something that would all but ensure no action to this end would be taken.

"We need to change the balance and have pro-choice legislators who have the power to make decisions on whether this constitutional right will be in law...so there'll be no ambiguity about it," Harris told CNN.

At the same time, Democrats across the country are framing the end of Roe v Wade as a rallying cry going into the midterms. Some Republican operatives and politicians, including former President Donald Trump, have expressed concerns that this could limit their gains in November.

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