Oglala Sioux Tribe Bans Abortion on Reservation, Suspends Tribal President

The Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota voted to ban abortion on the Pine Ridge Reservation and suspend tribal president Cecelia Fire Thunder for 20 days after she announced her intention to build a women’s health clinic on the reservation. Tribal Council representative Will Peters told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader that Fire Thunder performed “unauthorized political activity” for soliciting donations. Fire Thunder maintains that the donations the tribe has received were not solicited by her, according to United Press International. The tribe plans to hold impeachment hearings against Fire Thunder, the first woman president of the Oglala Sioux.

The women’s health facility Fire Thunder proposed would not have offered abortion services, but rather family planning information and contraception. “Women need services. Women need support. Right now on the Pine Ridge reservation, there’s very little support for women who have been raped,” Fire Thunder said, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

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NPR All Things Considered 5/8/06, The Associated Press 5/31/06, Sioux Falls Argus Leader 5/31/06, The Rapid City Journal 6/6/06; UPI 6/1/06

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