Monday, September 27, 2010
ACLU Sues for Information on American Indian Women Pressured to Induce Labor
ACLU press release: ACLU Sues for Information on American Indian Women Pressured to Induce Labor:
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of South Dakota filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today against Indian Health Services (IHS) seeking information about reports that pregnant women on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation are being pressured into taking medication to induce labor against their wishes. The FOIA lawsuit also seeks information on plans to build a birthing unit on the reservation, funded in large part with federal stimulus dollars.
"A woman living on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation has the same rights as any other woman to make medical decisions during pregnancy," said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "No woman should be compelled to undergo induced labor against her will."
There is no obstetric care available on the reservation, the fourth largest in the United States. Although plans to build an obstetric care facility on the reservation have been pending since 2002, construction has not moved beyond its earliest stages despite an appropriation from Congress last year to finish the facility. Since most women on the reservation depend on IHS for healthcare, they are forced to travel 90 miles to St. Mary's Healthcare Center in Pierre for labor and delivery, the nearest facility with an IHS contract. . . .