The statistics are stark. More than 1 in 3 Native American women will be sexually assaulted their lifetimes, a rate much higher than the general population. In one study, a stunning 92% of young women reported they had been forced to have sex against their will on a date.
One of the primary fears of any rape victim is an unintended pregnancy. The first line of defense against that possibility is, of course, the prompt administration of emergency contraception.
And this is where things get tricky for many Native women. Most receive their health care from the Indian Health Service and affiliated tribal health centers. Of 157 IHS facilities, only 10% surveyed stock Plan B in their pharmacies, and only 37.5% carried some alternative form of emergency contraception. In the Albuquerque Area, which covers almost all of New Mexico and Utah, only two of its 15 facilities stocked Plan B.
"If you are living on the reservation or on the Pueblos without insurance, or the money to pay for EC or transportation to get you to town, you are out of luck, because you do not have accessibility through our own health care provider," says Charon Asetoyer, a Comanche from Lake Andes, South Dakota and Executive Director of [the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center].
And that assumes women even know to ask or find it. "A lot of women in our communities aren't aware that Plan B even exists or they associate it with the abortion pill RU486, they don't realize the difference because the media and the opposition have projected this: it's an abortion pill, when it really is a contraceptive," Asetoyer notes. [...]
The so-called “conscience clause” also comes into play. "We have had rape victims given prescriptions to get EC, but at IHS they wouldn't administer it, because the Pharmacy Director and her staff didn't believe in it, so she wouldn't administer EC," says Lisa Thompson-Heth of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in Fort Thompson, South Dakota. [...]
"It's not an aspirin; it's not cold tablets,” says Asetoyer. “It's withholding services from a victim.”
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010:
You may have already taken note of the gay-hating, immigrant-bashing, ignorance-promoting, climate change-denying, anti-choice, scofflaw attorney general of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli II. Well, here's another of his finest moments. [...]
Question: What can we do about Obama and the birth certificate thing?
Cuccinelli: It will get tested in my view when someone... when he signs a law, and someone is convicted of violating it and one of their defenses will be it is not a law because someone qualified to be President didn’t sign it.
Q: Is that something you can do as Attorney General? Can you do that or something?
Cuccinelli: Well, only if there is a conflict where we are suing the federal government for a law they’ve passed. So it’s possible.
Q: Because we are talking about the possibility that he was not born in America.
Cuccinelli: Right. But at the same time under Rule 11, Federal Rule 11, we gotta have proof of it.
Q: How can we get proof?
Cuccinelli: Well... that’s a good question. Not one I’ve thought a lot about because it hasn’t been part of my campaign. Someone is going to have to come forward with nailed down testimony that he was born in place B, wherever that is. You know, the speculation is Kenya. And that doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility.