South Dakota Indian Tribe Will Open Abortion Business if Ban Becomes Law

by Steven Ertelt Editor

March 23, 2006


Pierre, SD ( -- A South Dakota Indian tribe is throwing a monkey wrench into the state's plans to ban virtually all abortions in the state. Should the ban become law, one tribe says it will open up an abortion business on their tribal lands, which wouldn't be subjected to the abortion ban.

Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux tribe of South Dakota, says Sioux nation sovereignty means the new ban doesn't apply. As a result, she said she will lead an effort to build a Planned Parenthood abortion center at the Pine Ridge Reservation.


To me, it is now a question of sovereignty, she told Tim Giago who runs a web site called


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," Fire Thunder said.


A former nurse and health care worker, Fire Thunder is the first woman president of the Sioux nation.


She told the web site that she is very angry that a a state legislature comprised mostly of white men "would make such a stupid law against women."


However, Clementine Little Hawk Hernandez, the founder of Indians for Life, says Native Americans historically favor pro-life values.


"Our native people have such a rich tradition which is at its heart the love and respect for all life," Hernandez said. "It's truly amazing how pro-life our Native People are."


"As Native Americans, we must stand up and witness that all life is a sacred gift from God," she added.


Hernandez is a Lakota Sioux who was born on the South Dakota reservation and is an active member in the Tekawitha Conference. Her group is an outreach of the National Right to Life Committee.


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