“As the attacks on reproductive health and the right to bodily autonomy for those who can get pregnant grow bolder, access to safe and affordable sexual and reproductive health services, especially for abortions, has worsened. In Texas, Senate Bill 8 bans abortion as early as six weeks and offers $10,000 to private citizens to sue anyone who performs abortions or aids those seeking that reproductive care. While the bill presents new barriers for many Americans, the restrictions it imposes on Indigenous people’s bodies and the penalties for breaking them are just another in a long line of oppressive government regulations that they have long endured.
Many Indigenous communities have a long history of embracing abortion and the autonomy of birthing people as a natural part of reproductive care in their cultures and view state and federal abortion restrictions as part of a larger tapestry in which Indigenous cultures and practices have been forcibly erased. In a September brief addressing Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy stated that ‘[b]irth control, abortion, prenatal care, birth, and maternal care all have rich, contextualized histories and roles within many tribal communities. The provision of this care was frequently overseen by female relations, guided by the autonomy of the individual and the reciprocal obligations of and to the community.'”