23 March, 2006

So Sioux Me

The female president of the Oglala Sioux has made an announcement. Planned Parenthood and the "Women's" movement are embracing their newfound sisters on Lakota land. Pity they haven't cared one iota about the Oglala Lakota until now.

The reservation is beset with problems, mostly arising from poverty and the cultural damage caused by destructive government programs of assimilation.

Over half of the population on the reservation is under 18 years of age, with a rough life expectancy some twenty years less than the national average. Infant mortality rates are more than twice the national average, and sixty-nine percent of the children who survive live below the national poverty line.

If, as I understand the argument of the Pro-Choice forces to be, women should be able to choose when they have children, how many they have, and then to have those children be wanted and cared for and provided for there should have been some type of Planned Parenthood clinich offering birth control choices and education to the Oglala Lakota long ago.

Perhaps this explains it:
Unemployment rate is approximately eighty-five percent--the reservation lacks any form of industry, and a very limited economy, making work extremely difficult to find, and bringing the per capita income of the reservation to an average of $4000. Rates of alchoholism almost exactly mirror the unemployment rate.

Why bother, when the people of the Oglala can't pay for treatment? This new "victory for choice" appears to be about the choices of white women who can pay. I don't understand all the rejoicing. As I see it, the choice is the same. If you want an abortion in SDakota, you may have to drive to get one. Drive to North Dakota. Drive to Chicago. Drive to Oglala Lakota land. Six of one, half dozen of another.

Update: Rachel of Women's Health News gave a link to the Planned Parenthood Development office for the South Dakota/Minnesota region. I have left messages with two people (Jennifer Newberg is the director of development) and am waiting their response. I understand that they may be busier than normal, given this announcement and that it may be awhile. But I am genuinely interested in their answer and will post it here once they call me back.


At 1:00 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger Rachel said...

Thank you for calling attention to the Oglala situation overall. I was reading somewhere else about how short their life spans are, how high the maternal mortality rate is, etc. I'm very glad to be now more informed about this. I get your point about it just being one more place to drive. I think a lot of the excitement is because women are afraid that reservations will soon be the only place left to drive.

At 1:05 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger Kat Coble said...

I had a friend in college who was Oglala Lakota. (He still is, even though we're not in college anymore.) He's always been very vocal about the lack of opportunity for his people. That was my first thought when news of the clinic came out.
Planned Parenthood provides more comprehensive services than just abortion. Even though I'm not a big fan of abortion, I am a fan of pre-emptive birth control, women's gynecological health monitoring and the like. Given the Lakota situation I'm astonished there hasn't been more help until now.

The majority of charities on Lakota land are Catholic, from what I've been able to tell. As much as I wholly respect Catholics, their belief that pre-emptive birth control is wrong creates more problems, in my opinion. I wish there could be an inbetween charity for those of us who are with you right up until the medical abortion point.

At 1:27 PM, March 23, 2006, Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

Hopefully all this attention will drive much-needed funds and possibly industry their way. The plight of the Native Americans is something that has always made me really sad.


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