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Creative extremism, or: news from the front

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 18 years ago, in 2006, on the World Wide Web.

From GT 2006-03-08: Abortion on demand and without apology (Dakota Remix):

What you need to realize is that we are facing off with people (and, let’s be clear, most of them are men) who have absolutely no compunction with commandeering real women’s lives, livelihoods, and bodies in the name of their theologico-political power trips, because their victims are women and women are (in the minds of the bellowing blowhard brigade) made for the Culture of Life’s use, even if that means involuntary servitude enforced at the point of a pro-life bayonet. Meanwhile the sanctimonious politicos (and, let’s be clear, most of them are men, too) supposedly on our side bite their lips and palaver about [the tragedy of necessary gynaecological surgery][Pollitt] and generally act as though their brothers’ claims of dominion over other women’s bodies deserved something less than contempt and resistance. We are the new abolitionists, and it is long past time for the Clintonian hand-wringers and the take-one-for-the-party doughfaces who claim to be part of this movement to shut the hell up and get to the back. If they refuse to, I suggest that it’s our duty to jeer them into silence until they do. Can we get some moral outrage here? Some feminism? Some creative extremism?

A couple days later, Dain commented:

So just what is the decentralist and libertarian response to this move by South Dakota?

Well, here you go. First:

In the 1960s and early 1970s, when abortions were illegal in many places and expensive to get, an organization called Jane stepped up to the plate in the Chicago area. Jane initially hired an abortion doctor, but later they did the abortions themselves. They lost only one patient in 13,000 — a lower death rate than that of giving live birth. The biggest obstacle they had, though, was the fact that until years into the operation, they thought of abortion as something only a doctor could do, something only the most trained specialist could perform without endangering the life of the woman.

They were deceived — much like you have probably been deceived. An abortion, especially for an early pregnancy, is a relatively easy procedure to perform. And while I know, women of South Dakota, that you never asked for this, now is the time to learn how it is done. There is no reason you should be beholden to doctors — especially in a state where doctors have been refusing to perform them, forcing the state’s only abortion clinic to fly doctors in from elsewhere.

No textbooks or guides existed at that time to help them, and the equipment was hard to find. This is no longer true. For under $2000, any person with the inclination to learn could create a fully functioning abortion setup allowing for both vacuum aspiration and dilation/curettage abortions. If you are careful and diligent, and have a good grasp of a woman’s anatomy you will not put anyone’s health or life in danger, even if you have not seen one of these procedures performed.

Today, I will discuss dilation and curettage — what used to be the most common abortion procedure before vacuum aspiration took its place. Vacuum aspiration is an easier method, but sometimes remaining fetal/placental material necessitates doing a cleanup D&C anyway, so you should know how to do this procedure first. …

— Molly Saves the Day (2006-02-23): For the women of South Dakota: an abortion manual

And reader, she does. Read the whole thing. Save a copy on your own computer. I hope you never need it, but do it anyway.

Secondly, here’s another good suggestion, and some even better news:

This might be the time non-Indian South Dakotans might want to carefully and respectfully approach their neighbors on sovereign Indian reservations and discuss funding good quality private health clinics which also include access, for tribal members as well as reservations visitors, to reproductive services. … However, since Indian reservations are not subject to state regulations and since abortion, according to the federal government, is still legal nationally, South Dakota could not regulate such private, Indian-owned clinics on tribal land.

— MB, commenting at Pandagon (2006-02-23)


The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

To me, it is now a question of sovereignty, she said to me last week. I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction.

Strong words from a very strong lady. I hope Ms. Fire Thunder challenges Gov. Rounds and the state legislators on this law that is an affront to all independent women.

— Tim Giago at Indianz.com (2006-03-21): Oglala Sioux president on state abortion law

The story is thanks to Hopelessly Midwestern (2006-03-22), who also relays this:

If you want to mail donations to the reservation, you may do so at:

Oglala Sioux Tribe
ATTN: President Fire Thunder
P. O. Box 2070
Pine Ridge, SD 57770

OR: and this may be preferred, due to mail volume:

PO BOX 990
Martin, SD 57751

Enclose a letter voicing your support and explaining the purpose of the donation. Bear in mind, the Pine Ridge Res is not exactly dripping with disposeable income, so do consider donating funds directly to the tribe as well as specifically for this effort.

ETA: Make checks out to OST Planned Parenthood Cecelia Fire Thunder. This will ensure that the funds get routed properly.

For email contact, you can contact the president at:

cc: vbush@oglala.org

For the sake of record keeping, do cc: the listed address on all correspondence; that’s her official secretary.

— Hopelessly Midwestern (2006-03-22): Quick post: Show love!

Do it. Seriously. Now.

I can’t think of a better direction for the pro-choice movement than this: defiance, direct action, and polycentric law. These are grim times that we face, but this is the way that hope lies.

2 replies to Creative extremism, or: news from the front Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

  1. Sergio Méndez


    But nobody is going to sue this south dakota law? It obviously defies Roe Vs Wade.

  2. Rad Geek

    Sergio, Planned Parenthood and some other groups are preparing to challenge the ban before it takes effect in July. They’re currently deciding whether to mount a lawsuit immediately, or opt for a ballot referendum first, or do both. (Getting the signatures to place a referendum on the ballot will delay enforcement of the bill until after the referendum.)

    I support their efforts to repeal the law, but I think we also need to cultivate some new approaches. I’m tired of fighting rearguard actions, and I’m glad to see people talking about strategies that allow us to just sidestep the bully-boys in state government, whatever may come out of the court and/or electoral fights.

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