NotesVolume 9, Issue 1 (2018)

Roe on the Rez: The Case for Expanding Abortion Access on Tribal Land

Heidi L. Guzmán

Columbia Law School, J.D. Candidate 2019
Citation:9 COLUM. J. RACE & L. 95

Abstract

While the courts have codified and reaffirmed the right to abortion, some state legislatures have enacted increasingly burdensome restrictions on abortion. In a number of states, there is only one abortion clinic available for thousands of people. This Note explores whether Native American tribes, as sovereigns, may establish holistic reproductive health clinics on tribal land. It analyzes abortion law in Wisconsin under the framework of Public Law 280 jurisprudence to determine that clinics in Indian Country would not be subject to state abortion regulations. This Note also explores the practical implications of a Native-owned-and-operated clinic, and concludes that these clinics would greatly increase access to safe reproductive health care for Native and non-Native people.