By Gudrun Schultz
PORCUPINE, South Dakota, July 4, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cecelia Fire Thunder, tribal council leader for the South Dakota Oglala Sioux Tribe, was formally removed from office by a 9-5 vote last Thursday, reports the Washington Post.
The Tribal Council had suspended Fire Thunder in May for allegedly beginning fundraising for an abortion clinic on tribal lands without the permission or knowledge of the tribe.
Fire Thunder, according to the Post, had worked part-time in the past for a California abortion clinic run by Planned Parenthood. She began pushing for an abortion clinic on the reservation last March, shortly after South Dakota passed a law banning almost all abortions in the state. Fire Thunder said the state law would not apply within the reservation.
“The bottom line is the Lakota people were adamantly opposed to abortion on our homelands. The president was involved in unauthorized political actions,” said Will Peters, who filed the original complaint against Fire Thunder, resulting in a 20-day suspension prior to the impeachment hearing.
Fire Thunder has said she will challenge the decision, claiming abortion was not the real issue.
“It’s not about abortion. A lot of them have personal stuff toward me,” she said. The Tribal Council had dismissed two previous complaints against Fire Thunder for unrelated activities.
Tribal law includes an inherent respect for life that doesn’t allow for abortions, said retired chief judge and law teacher Patrick Lee to the AP in April.
Lee said the tribe’s respect for the unborn is stated specifically in the juvenile code: “a child conceived, but not born, is to be deemed an existing person so far as may be necessary for its interests and welfare to be protected in the event of its subsequent birth.”
Last month the tribal council voted to completely ban abortion on the reserve.
See previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Abortion Supporting Native Indian Chief in South Dakota May Be Impeached
South Dakota Reservation Bans Abortion, Suspends Tribal President Seeking Abortion Clinic