South Dakota Indian Tribe Moving Ahead With Plans for Abortion Business

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 7, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Indian Tribe Moving Ahead With Plans for Abortion Business Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 7, 2006

Pine Ridge, SD ( — A South Dakota Indian tribe is moving ahead with plans to build an abortion facility on its reservation following passage of a state law that prohibits abortions in the state. The plan is going forward even though abortion advocates are hoping to defeat the ban on the November ballot.

Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, made national headlines when she made the statement after Gov. Mike Rounds signed the bill into law that her tribe would build an abortion facility.

Thunder says her words are more than just talk.

That she would build an abortion center is no surprise. Thunder is a longtime abortion advocate and formerly worked at an abortion business in California. She’s on the steering committee of the pro-abrotion group hoping to defeat the ban at the polls.

At first Thunder said the tribe would build the abortion center if the bid to topple the abortion ban fails. Now, she tells Indian Country Today that it will move ahead regardless.

She already has a name, too — the Sacred Choices Clinic.

”I keep thinking about all the times I’ve worked with women who never had a choice,” she told ICT.

Planning for the abortion facility is already underway. This month, volunteers will begin meeting to coordinate strategy, attorneys are drafting papers and looking at potential legal obstacles, Thunder explained.

Thunder has already raised $5,000 from pro-abortion activists across the country wanted to see the Indian abortion center succeed. She indicated she’s received hundreds of emails in support.

The Indian tribe is taking advantage of a loophole in the law that makes it so state laws do not apply to reservations because they are sovereign nations with their own laws. Federal laws apply to reservations, but with the Roe v. Wade decision there is no national abortion prohibition.

However, to get around the state abortion ban, should it ever take effect, only Native American abortion practitioners would be eligible to do abortions at the new facility. All other people would be subject to the ban.

Thunder says abortion is "between [the woman] and God and the spirit of the child."

But Clementine Little Hawk Hernandez, the founder of Indians for Life, disagrees and 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.

TAKE ACTION: Voice your opposition to: Oglala Sioux Tribe, ATTN: President Fire Thunder, P. O. Box H, Pine Ridge, SD 57770. You can also call 605-867-6074 or fax a letter to 605-867-6076.

Related web sites:
Oglala Sioux Tribe –