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Oglala Sioux Tribe on the South Dakota Abortion Ban
by blackeye1776
Wednesday Mar 22nd, 2006 12:34 PM
"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] 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)

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by I love this
Wednesday Mar 22nd, 2006 1:33 PM
Yeah. I'm writing her a letter, thanking her, and commending her leadership today.
by cp
Wednesday Mar 22nd, 2006 3:34 PM
The doctors provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs used to perform involuntary sterilizations until the late 70s when women went in for other procedures, or were giving birth, and then had their tubes snipped without their knowledge and consent. This was right out of the eugenics movement of the 30s and 40s.
by Tia
Wednesday Mar 22nd, 2006 8:31 PM
And we (thats the collective WE) need to make sure it is adequately funded. Now , instead of wringing our hands, we have a course of action.
by Smartypants
Thursday Mar 23rd, 2006 4:20 AM
by haven't verified this, though
Thursday Mar 23rd, 2006 5:29 AM
Ms. Fire Thunder and the Oglala Sioux Planned Parenthood
I called the Office of the President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge, and spoke with Ms. Fire Thunder herself. (In case you haven't seen it, this is in reference to

If you want to mail donations to the reservation, you may do so at:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

Enclose a letter voicing your support and explaining the purpose of the donation. Bear in mind, the Pine Ridge Res is not exactly dripping with disposeable income, so do consider donating funds directly to the tribe as well as specifically for this effort.

ETA: Make checks out to OST Planned Parenthood Cecelia Fire Thunder. This will ensure that the funds get routed properly.

For email contact, you can contact the president at:

firethunder_president AT NOSPAM yahoo DOT com
cc:vbush AT NOSPAM oglala DOT org

That is Ms. Fire Thunder's personal email address; I have received permission to post it here. For the sake of record keeping, do cc: the listed address on all correspondence; that's her official secretary.

She was frankly kind of surprised that a white girl from Seattle was calling to express support, and even more surprised that the news had spread so far so fast. She's likely to get deluged with screaming hate mail soon, so get your support in fast. Send email with good thoughts if you can't send money.

ETA: Yes, please, dear God, link it anywhere and everywhere!
by Mike Drips
(umbrax [at] Thursday Mar 23rd, 2006 10:48 AM
That's great news. Glad to see someone standing up to the nitwits in the South Dakota legislature.
by Eric G
Thursday Mar 23rd, 2006 5:13 PM
by Dr. Suzan Nolan
(Kensuz5 [at] Thursday Mar 23rd, 2006 9:43 PM
It is an embarassment to be a woman from SD with the anti-women legislation going on in this state. It is no wonder our young women and men flee to neighboring states when they graduate from high school here. The legislature is full of good ole pro-life boys. who believe that women, like cows, are more valuable when they are pregnant. The decision of the religious right to lifers in our state legislature harkens back to the days when men thought women were chattel and second class citizens. And now that the legislature has decided to interfere in our private decisions, issues like education, health care, and poverty are completely overshadowed as well. The brighter side of this debacle is that mainstream Republicans, who are also appalled at this legislation, are talking to their Democrat neighbors about how to deal with this archaic thinking. In some ways this legislation will have some good side effects for our state, in terms of bipartisan conversations and according to a recent poll, 67% of the people in our state oppose this legislation. There is some sane thinking going on in SD, however none of it comes from the legislature.
by C. Tomlinson
(cathuk [at] Friday Mar 24th, 2006 5:07 AM
An intripid Livejournal user has contacted Ms. Fire Thunder about the the Oglala Sioux Planned Parenthood and how people can contribute towards the project - just follow the link with this article for details.
by Utopia Bold
Friday Mar 24th, 2006 11:23 PM
A. "Simple rape is a rape committed when the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim **who is not the spouse of the offender** " according to the legal definition.

So this means its legal for a husband to rape his wife?! Its time for women to learn to use herbs and Menstrual Extraction to control their fertility. google "menstrual extraction" and Sister Zeus

by gretchen kingsley
(gretch322 [at] Sunday Mar 26th, 2006 10:37 AM
I applaud the actions of the tribe in asserting their sovereignity on an issue of such importance to women and their families. I support privacy between medical persons and clients, men or women. Thank you.
by Evelyn
Sunday Mar 26th, 2006 2:07 PM
"Simple Rape" is a legal term, used in legal contexts. It is defined as the rape of a mentally retarded female by any male. It is a frequently occurring crime against female mentally retarded people. Under the usually-existing laws, simple rape makes the victim a candidate for a legal abortion. There are a number of excellent reasons why this would be preferable to having a mentally retarded female reproduce.
by Assumptions
Monday Mar 27th, 2006 1:46 PM
Many disabled rights activists protest(rightly) the lack of control over their bodily systems and are sometimes anti choice because statements like the one above.It smacks of authoritariansim, which is incompatible with a true reproductive rigths perspective. It is preferable to stop rape; it is NOT preferable to stop mentally disabled"retarded" women from reproducing by simple edict.
by Richard Thornton
Monday Mar 27th, 2006 1:59 PM
Just heard about this. As a middle aged Alabama white guy, I say that takes courage. Let's make up for some of what our elders did.
by Andrew
Wednesday Mar 29th, 2006 8:40 AM
In your article you describe the woman as "incensed." In think you meant insensed. To be incensed is to be full of incense, a material that you burn to create a smoky aroma. To be insensed to be outraged.

by blackeye1776
Thursday Mar 30th, 2006 11:37 PM
I think we should applaud the content of the article itself. I misspell as well when I type too fast. To be honest, I've called people on it, we all have. But I'm starting to think that the fact that you can spell better means you are fortunate that someone took the time to teach you, you read a lot, or you are skilled in that regard...
by Jonathan Galente
(galente [at] Tuesday Apr 4th, 2006 7:44 AM
I support you and I am sad that men have acted so badly. I find it hard to understand how these actions against women are still going on in this day and age. When you get tired and weary of the fight remember that YOU will be the one who changes the wrold for the better for the rest of womenkind. When YOU look in the mirror YOU will see what freedom looks like.
Thank you for your love of justice.
by Jonathan Fine
Thursday Apr 6th, 2006 11:14 PM
"Incensed" is the correct spelling.
by Dorothy Fadiman
(dbfadiman [at] Wednesday Apr 12th, 2006 9:09 AM
As a woman who survived a treacherous back alley abortion,
I am writing to express my deep thanks to Cecilia Fire-Thunder
for her vision of a Planned Parenthood Clinice on the reservation
and to Tim Gigax, the reporter who has brought that news to us.
We need people of courage, now more than ever,
including journalists who have the courage to
break through the silence of the media.
Dorothy Fadiman
by Deann
(fortdeann [at] Wednesday Apr 26th, 2006 7:37 AM
It is absolutely appauling that the men in my state, and the women who stand beside, or rather BEHIND them, think that this law will be doing our society good. This legislation was a full fledged slug in the face for women. Thank you Ms. Fire Thunder for standing up to these idiots that we have elected. Next elections should be very interesting! Keep up the great work!
by Until then, you're dismissed
Sunday Apr 30th, 2006 8:22 AM
Until then, you're dismissed. When you and your crybaby relgious fundi-hypocrite friends start adapting crack babies, you might have some credibility. Until then, you'll continue to be deleted and laughed at here.
by into doing something good
Sunday Apr 30th, 2006 9:06 AM
like not voting for right wing lunatic neocon chickenhawks like bush and ruining this world....
by oo
Wednesday May 31st, 2006 1:10 PM

fire thunder needs our support now more than ever.
by Cynthia Friedman
(Cynthia_Lakota [at] Monday Jul 3rd, 2006 7:52 PM
Fire Thunder shall always stand proud.
by Amanda Ritz
Thursday Oct 5th, 2006 8:32 PM
We no longer have to imagine the worst but sadly are awakened each morning to the depth we have reached when we no longer regard life with such sovereignty, stooping so low as to cover our actions with softer terms calling a "murder of convenience" an "abortion". It is hard to live with the thought you are carrying the child the result of such an evil act but it is not the child's cause and the worst of the punishment should not lie upon a child. It is a torment to carry the to term knowing where the child came from but could you take her/his life because it is too much to bear for the term of the pregnancy? There is always the option of adoption, to at least give this new life a chance for itself. Self. How I would much like to see the rapists and sex predetors "aborted" instead of an innocent life so independent of the acts. However, it is not my place to take life. But, there must be harsher punishments for these horrible crimes against women. There needs to be action to control pornography and the way women are portrayed in Hollywood and among all so we can take our place as the strong in our nation so we are not preyed upon. Our view must be changed from sexual to feminine. Femenine is strong, responsible, caring, wise. I pray we are wise enough to stand for the innocent lives that are destroyed by such evil and against the evil that preys upon them.
by Christa
Sunday Oct 8th, 2006 9:47 PM
"Incensed", according to is correct. "Insensed" was not found by
by Tim
(wem1info [at] Thursday Feb 22nd, 2007 10:02 AM
I have respect for president Fire Thunder, however I am surprised at her opposition to the abortion ban. It is my belief that First Nations people, more than any other people know and recognize the value of human life. It's not about sovereignty or choice or women's rights. It is about the sanctity of human life. Life (wiconi) is sacred and is given or taken away only by Tunkashila (the Creator). No human has the authority or right to play God and say who lives or dies. Roe v Wade is simply another example of the government attempting to be the "Supreme Authority" over everyone and anyone it chooses. Basically it legalizes the murder of our most precious commodity... children. The Lakota word for children says it all...wakanyeja (sacred being). What if Tashunka Witko (Crazy Horse) had been aborted, or Sitting Bull, or Big Foot, or Red Cloud, or Spotted Tail, etc. Please, Mrs. Fire Thunder, don't you think the Lakota have been persecuted and murdered long enough by the "American" government? Let's not fall prey to their twisted schemes again. Let the Lakota People choose life. The culture of death and destruction must be broken. The circle of life must remain intact. Walk the good road, the sacred road (canku wakan). It is the road of life. Pilamaya.
by Anudder Hostile Savage
Wednesday Jan 23rd, 2008 5:01 PM
Thank you for your words Tim.

Real NDNS do not believe in solving problems by taking human life. White Feminists are been extremely arrogant and racist in their dealings with Native women on the abortion issue. Abortion rights are a white thing - it's not an NDN issue. Abortion is out of the question for real NDNS. We respected life for thousands of years before the Colonizers came and we will continue to respect it for thousands of years after this foolish race makes itself extinct. If there were any true sovereignty for Native people on OUR land, there would be no talk of abortion as a solution to any of our people's problems. Native people go to the root of things and solve problems with the next SEVEN GENERATIONS in mind. Abortion is a quick fix solution that only benefits white middle class to upper middle class women. It's about letting white women amass more wealth, it's not an intelligent or moral solution. White Feminists refuse to listen to Native women and other cultural groups on the abortion issue. They can only see black and white (and the GREEN Yankee dollar)! They ignore all the years of forced sterilization that their white male counterparts inflicted on Indigenous women. They have no sensitivity for the suffering that Native women did at the hands of "well-intentioned" white doctors who thought they knew what was best for the ignorant savages. If Native women are to build a strong communities in the future, we need to stay separate from the white feminists who only want to trick us into supporting causes that only benefit them and erode our integrity, our spirituality and our core values. Part of our fundamental identity as Native people is the respect for all life in all its forms. More Native people need to speak their mind about how wrong abortion is. White women have done all the talking for too long. White feminists have been wrong on so many issues, yet they still refuse to learn from poor, brown women.

Thank you Tim, for bringing up an important point.

I'm sure you will be demonized and characterized as a right wing "fanatic".

White women are incapable of listening to Native people on this issue.

White feminism is useless for Native women. We need to stop the privilleged from silencing us and cramming their agenda down our throats.

The support for Obama gives me hope. Other women of color are starting to tell the white women, that they aren't in charge of things anymore.

Keep speaking out, Tim.

We need to hear the complexity and the diversity from the "pro-lifers"

Hostile Savage

I am and will always be a Lakota first - NOT a Feminist

When will they stop assuming that they KNOW what is good for us?
by Samantha
Wednesday Jun 25th, 2008 3:11 PM
"Louisiana Simple Rape Law LA R.S. 14:43 A. Simple rape is a rape committed when the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without the lawful consent of a victim who is not the spouse of the offender because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances: (1) When the victim is incapable of resisting or of understanding the nature of the act by reason of a stupor or abnormal condition of mind produced by an intoxicating agent or any cause, other than the administration by the offender of any narcotic or anesthetic agent or other controlled dangerous substance and the offender knew or should have known of the victim's incapacity. (2) When the victim is incapable, through unsoundness of mind, whether temporary or permanent, of understanding the nature of the act and the offender knew or should have known of the victim's incapacity. (3) When the female victim submits under the belief that the person committing the act is her husband and such belief is intentionally induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the offender. B. For purposes of this Section, a person shall not be considered to be a spouse if a judgment of separation from bed and board has been rendered, or if the person and the offender are not legally separated but are living separate and apart and the offender knows that a temporary restraining order, preliminary or permanent injunction, or other order or decree has been issued prohibiting or restraining the offender from sexually or physically abusing, intimidating, threatening violence against, or in any way physically interfering with the person. C. Whoever commits the crime of simple rape shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, for not more than twenty-five years. " Quoted from:

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