Monday, April 10, 2006

Better than casinos: South Dakota's legal abortion spa for women!

I'm in the middle of reading a book about the bad old days when women "in trouble" had no other option but to get abortions from street-corner hacks. And to die from them, to bleed to death in a pool of their own blood in hospital emergency rooms because it was against the law for doctors to save them. And when I was young, EVERY young woman I knew had a horror story about a friend who had lost her ability to have children ever again -- at the very least -- due to botched abortions.

"But Jane, abortion is murder!" said my friend Gary. I don't disagree. Abortions are nasty things to be avoided at all costs. But what if a woman decides that she needs one? Who the hell are we to send her off to some back-street butcher? Are we God? Hardly.

Apparently the State of South Dakota HAS set itself up to play God. And the chief of the South Dakota Oglala Sioux, Cecilia Fire Thunder, thinks that it is not the state's business to interfere with a woman's life -- but only before the baby is born. According to Chief Fire Thunder, Sioux women are afraid that even though the state won't let them get legal abortions, it will be them, not the state, that will be responsible for raising the children. "An elder on my reservation said, 'So they don't want you to have contraception or abortions after rape? Are they going to step up and take care of that baby?'"

Chief Fire Thunder is going to move Heaven and earth to get a clinic for the women of her reservation, almost half of whom are living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate on the reservation is 85 percent and the life expectancy rate for the average woman, according journalist Rose Aguilar, is only 55 years.

All this talk about the South Dakota Sioux gave me an idea. Aren't Native American reservations considered to be sovereign nations? Ungoverned by state law? Isn't this how gaming and casinos are allowed on reservation land? Well, let's extend this concept a little further, "What if the Oglala Sioux Nation declared abortions to be legal too," I asked my friend MA.

What if the Oglala Sioux opened a POSH women's health clinic on reservation land? Then women from all over South Dakota -- and all over the world -- could come and be pampered and taken care of during this stressful time? NARAL and NOW could help fund it. It would bring sorely-needed jobs to The Rez. And women would be safe there from the back-street butchers whose assistants are the South Dakota state legislature and the Angel of Death.

Abortions won't just magically go away if you make them illegal. Your wives and daughters will fall into the hands of butchers instead.