Indians Use Sovereignty for Casinos, Now Abortions

Indian tribes in South Dakota are planning to undermine South Dakota’s statewide ban on abortions by offering abortions on a sovereign Indian reservation, not subject to state law.

If House Bill 1215, banning abortions in South Dakota passes, President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Cecilia Fire Thunder, said she will try to open a women’s clinic on Pine Ridge that will provide abortions and other “family planning” services.

KNBN-TV of Rapid City South Dakota contacted South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long who explained, “Roe vs. Wade is a federal law. Pine Ridge is a reservation that is under the jurisdiction of federal laws more than state laws.”

But, Long said abortions on Indian lands would be illegal if both the person performing the procedure and the pregnant woman were both non-Indians.

Fire Thunder said she is still exploring the legalities of opening an abortion clinic, but said she will pursue her plans regardless of if House Bill 1215 is passed or not.