Oglala Sioux to defy South Dakota on abortion law

Tim Giago of the Native American Journalists Foundation writes for Native American Times March 20, online at Indianz.com:

When Governor Mike Rounds signed HB 1215 into law it effectively banned all abortions in the state with the exception that it did allow saving the mother’s life. There were, however, no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. His actions, and the comments of State Senators like Bill Napoli of Rapid City, SD, set of a maelstrom of protests within the state.

Napoli suggested that if it was a case of “simple rape,” there should be no thoughts of ending a pregnancy. Letters by the hundreds appeared in local newspapers, mostly written by women, challenging Napoli’s description of rape as “simple.” He has yet to explain satisfactorily what he meant by “simple rape.”

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

“To me, it is now a question of sovereignty,” she said to me last week. “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.”

Strong words from a very strong lady. I hope Ms. Fire Thunder challenges Gov. Rounds and the state legislators on this law that is an affront to all independent women.

See our last post on Native American sovereignty struggles.

  1. Planned Parenthood at Pine Ridge
    I can’t say as I was surprised that S. Dakota passed such a law, considering that they kept re-electing Governor Janklow who was credibly accused of rape himself.
    Wouldn’t it be ironic in the extreme if such a clinic could be a source of revenue in one of the poorest Native communities. If it hit the national press it could concretize sovereignty in the public’s mind in a completely different & progressive context than casinos have been doing. These times continue to be absurd & bizarre.