Beck: S.D. Native Americans "have found something that can be more profitable than casinos, and that's abortion clinics"

Video ››› ››› BEN FISHEL

On his nationally syndicated radio program, Glenn Beck said of Native Americans who are considering circumventing a new South Dakota law banning nearly all abortions by opening an abortion clinic on an Indian reservation in the state: "Indians will have found something that can be more profitable than casinos, and that's abortion clinics. And then, look out, man -- exploiting everything illegal for profit."

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During the April 4 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Glenn Beck falsely accused Native Americans of wanting to open abortion clinics for profit on a reservation in South Dakota, where they could potentially be exempt from a recently passed South Dakota law banning nearly all abortions, except where the woman's life is at risk. Alleging that Native American culture has degenerated into "gaming, alcohol, fireworks, and abortion," Beck warned that by circumventing the new South Dakota law, "Indians will have found something that can be more profitable than casinos, and that's abortion clinics. And then, look out, man -- exploiting everything illegal for profit." Beck's remarks came in response to Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, an opponent of the South Dakota abortion ban who recently expressed interest in opening an abortion clinic on the state's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation if the law goes into effect.

Fire Thunder told AlterNet columnist Rose Aguilar that the proposed clinic would be "for all women because right now, if a woman needs an abortion, she needs to go all the way to Sioux Falls," more than 300 miles away from the Pine Ridge reservation, where South Dakota's only abortion clinic is located. Fire Thunder recently criticized the impact the South Dakota ban would have on poor women. From an April 4 interview with Aguilar:

AGUILAR: How do these laws directly impact the poor women on the reservation?

FIRE THUNDER: Women of color and poor women have always known that regardless of what happens, women with money will have access to abortion. Women with money will have access to contraception. No matter which way you cut it, it's always on the backs of poor women.

An elder on my reservation said, "So they don't want you to have contraception or abortions after rape? Are they going to step up and take care of that baby?"

AGUILAR: Do you think the pro-choice movement does enough to reach out to poor women?

FIRE THUNDER: Yes and no. For the most part, we have to empower ourselves. We're becoming much more politically astute, and we're getting a lot more young people involved. We love to get people riled up.

Fire Thunder added: "We're going to go ahead with the clinic no matter what. If nothing else, we need to establish a place where women feel comfortable."

Beck also criticized the once "proud Indian" for "using the whole 'you took our land' " argument and for deciding to "turn our precious land into a place where we can build some slot machines."

From the April 4 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: Whatever happened to the Indians? You know, they were celebrating Mother Earth and Father Sky or whatever it is, and that was beautiful and special. Now, it's about gaming, alcohol, fireworks, and abortions. I mean, what happened to the proud Indian?

[...]

What fork in the road did Native Americans take? When did they decide, "Ah, crap, it's just not worth it any more. Why don't we turn our precious land into a place where we can build some slot machines?"

[...]

I mean, you know, I'm bringing this up not because I have, you know, huge opposition to keno -- casinos and Indian trinket shops; don't get me wrong here. I bring it up because, you know, the Indians are using the whole "You took our land [sobbing]." I think they're taking that a little too far, don't you? I mean, South Dakota about to pass the no-abortion thing, so the women in the tribe -- in fact, let me get this straight, the -- it's Fire Thunder, that's her -- I don't know whether that's her last name or her middle and last name. It's Cecilia Fire Thunder. So -- anyway, she says she wants to open up the abortion clinics on the Indians' land, and I mean -- how good do you feel about giving away the sovereignty now? I mean, when I say we gave them sovereignty, I mean it's, you know, more in a way like, you know, we took their sovereignty and then loaned them a little bit of it back, but you know what I mean. I hope that contract isn't iron-clad -- when are we gonna get out of that contract with the Indians?

[...]

But I mean, can you really set up anything you want now on these reservations? South Dakota really -- they have their hands tied, you know? Otherwise, the Indians will have found something that can be more profitable than casinos, and that's abortion clinics. And then, look out, man -- exploiting everything illegal for profit. That's what -- I mean, is that what the Indians have turned into?

Posted In
Health Care, Reproductive Rights
Network/Outlet
Premiere Radio Networks
Person
Glenn Beck
Show/Publication
Glenn Beck Program
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