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Oglala Sioux Tribe on the South Dakota Abortion Ban
"To me, it is now a question of sovereignty." President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, says "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."
South Dakota's abortion law
Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji) 3/20/2006
© 2006 Native American Journalists Foundation, Inc.
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.
(Tim Giago is the president of the Native American Journalists Foundation, Inc., and the publisher of Indian Education Today Magazine. He can be reached at najournalists [at] rushmore.com or by writing him at 2050 W. Main St., Suite 5, Rapid City, SD. He was also the founder and publisher of the Lakota Times and Indian Country Today newspapers)