Pro-choice demonstrators, San Francisco, 2006
Yesterday I got a fund appeal. That's not extraordinary; it happens every day. A friend asked me to contribute to South Dakota Healthy Families, a coalition aiming to put the state's new abortion ban on the ballot in the November election.
Somehow, I'd missed the campaign to put a stake in this thing by popular vote. That sounds like a good idea. But that's not what I want to write about tonight -- that's a matter of tactics and strategy, worth pondering. But first I thought I'd research a bit more about South Dakota and the folks involved.
Though I'm not an enthusiast for abortions, I come to this believing that no woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy should be governed by a tangle of laws and moral injunctions framed in male-defined societies. Maybe when women have been considered fully human by everyone (including ourselves) for a few millennia, we'll have more perspective on the right relationship between a woman and the fertilized egg she can carry. Meanwhile, I believe each woman has to be free to figure this out through whatever means of moral discernment is her own.
One response to the abortion ban has gotten a lot of press: Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, has offered sovereign native land as a site for a clinic to make abortion available within South Dakota. This seems a brave and generous offer. According to Indian Country, she has a lot to say about the issues in abortion decisions:
One of the core insults that forced pregnancy crusaders throw at women is that we take abortion lightly, that we haven't thought the issues through. Cecilia Fire Thunder obviously has -- she can speak for me on this one.
Tomorrow I'll write about what I learned about the political context and potential of the South Dakota Healthy Families campaign.