Native American woman activist Charyn Asetoyer met with a group of abortion rights advocates on Capitol Hill today to talk about the dismal state of reproductive healthcare on Indian reservations in the US. As outlined in the Hyde Amendment, the Indian Health Service (IHS) is required by law to provide abortion services to Native American women in need of abortions because of rape, incest and life endangerment. However, IHS facilities have only provided 25 abortions in the past 20 years, according to IHS statistics. Meanwhile, Native American women are victims of rape at a rate that is three and a half times higher than women of all other races in this country, according to the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center.
“Twenty-five in 20 years is obviously a contradiction of the number of violent crimes committed against indigenous women,” said Asetoyer, who is a member of the Yankton-Sioux tribe in South Dakota. “When a woman is turned down for rape, incest and life endangerment a law is being broken. (IHS) needs to be held accountable.”
Asetoyer noted that many doctors who work on the Indian reservations tend to be from Catholic nations such as Puerto Rico and are either ideologically opposed to abortion or have not received training in reproductive healthcare. Many doctors refuse to provide emergency contraception and no IHS facility provides mifepristone for early medical abortion.
“Those individuals are choosing to interpret the Hyde amendment as they see fit and no one is overseeing them,” Asetoyer said.
Asetoyer hopes to convince a pro-choice lawmaker to sponsor a bill that would require IHS to follow the dictates of the Hyde Amendment. Ultimately, she would like to see the US do away with the restrictions imposed by Congress on abortion services to low income women through the Hyde Amendment.
“We haven’t even aspired to the provisions of the Hyde Amendment,” she said. “We’re the only group in the US denied abortion services solely on the basis of our race.”
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .