South Dakota Indian Reservation may open abortion clinic to counter the state-wide ban
by Caleb Reading
And there’s nothing the legislators can do about it.
Oglala Sioux Tribe President Cecelia Fire Thunder [Ed. – awesome name] says a clinic on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation could provide abortions if South Dakota’s new abortion ban goes into effect.
“We’re working on it,” Fire Thunder said in a telephone interview Friday. “This is a free-choice issue. If I were in that situation, I’d want somewhere to go where I’d be taken care of.”
The new South Dakota law bans all abortions except to save the life of the mother — with no exceptions for rape or incest.
University of South Dakota law professor Frank Pommersheim, an expert in Indian law, agreed that Fire Thunder’s proposal was “potentially workable” — especially if doctors were Indians and if the clinic were on Indian trust land.
State Rep. Elizabeth Kraus, R-Rapid City, who voted for the new abortion ban, said state legislators did not anticipate a tribal government setting up a clinic. “I think it’s poor policy because I don’t believe in abortion unless it’s to save the life of a mother,” Kraus said. “I don’t believe abortion is the answer to women’s problems.”
Not even if you were raped, Elizabeth?
Fire Thunder said in a written statement issued late Friday afternoon. “Of course, in our culture, children are sacred, but women are sacred too, and somebody who has been victimized by rape or incest should have options.”