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[public] Help kick South Dakota in the ass.

(This post is public.)

So, as many of you know, South Dakota has recently decided to trample on women's rights and medical safety. This has outraged a good many of us. However, it has in particular outraged a woman in a unique position to do something about it.

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation,Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare givershe 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 melast week. “I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic onmy own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine RidgeReservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely nojurisdiction.”
See the rest of the story here.

Two things went through my mind when I read this. The first was, "Oh, rock on!." The second was, "How can I help this woman?"

Well, the amazing kathrynt, from whose journal I first learned of this, did some legwork. In fact, she called the Office of the President of the Sioux Tribe of Pine Ridge, and actually spoke with Ms. Fire Thunder.

Details on how to help Ms. Fire Thunder and her cause can be found in kathrynt's journal, at the above link, though I'll include it here again:

http://kathrynt.livejournal.com/366823.html

I can't think of a more wonderful way to give the legislators in South Dakota a much-needed boot to the head.

(Permission to link to kathrynt's journal given by her in the post referenced.)
  • Current Mood: excited excited
Some more background on Ms. Fire Thunder:

http://www.indiancountrynews.com/fullstory.cfm?ID=132

http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/12/18/news/opinion/opin02.txt

(The suspension mentioned in that second article's blown over: http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096412221)

If she can survive Indian boarding school and the insular fishbowl of rez politics, I'm sure she'll have no trouble standing strong against the state. Rock on with your bad self, cousin!
While we're on the subject, here's some background I just posted elsewhere on the generally dire situation around reproductive healthcare in Indian country: clicky-clicky for your daily dose of outrage.

IHS used to be under the BIA, but in 1955 it got transferred to the Public Health Service. They're still federally funded, though, so they're under the same Hyde Amendment restrictions limiting abortion coverage to cases of rape, incest, or where the woman's life is at risk. What's more disturbing is that there are claims that many IHS units aren't even complying with that limited level of coverage they're obligated to provide. And this is hardly the only area in which they've got a bad rep on reproductive issues -- the coerced sterilizations of the 60s and 70s have not been forgotten. Things have improved somewhat since then, with many tribes now having a say in the management of their IHS facilities, or starting their own independent medical programs, but given a cash-strapped system that severely rations care, it's not too surprising that the IHS still has a less than glowing reputation.