Palin And Alaska Native Women

By
Thursday, September 04, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Blogging off my beat for a minute, I wanted to add a few points to the Gov. Sarah Palin discussion. We’re hearing a lot about Palin as the “glass-ceiling-shattering” nominee, meant to soak up votes of women who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — and just as much about how she’s unlikely to succeed in doing so.

Reports are saying that Palin’s stands on issues of abortion and sex education may be attracting evangelical voters and perhaps scaring off Clinton supporters. What we haven’t heard much about, though, is how her positions on women’s health have played out in Palin’s home state.

Alaska’s population is 15.4 percent Alaska Native or Native American — the largest percentage of any U.S. state. That’s relevant to a discussion on women’s issues for a few big reasons. The rate of rape and sexual assault among Indian women is 3.5 times higher than among women of any other racial group in America. In addition, sexual assault victims in Indian country frequently lack access to basic health resources, including rape kits and screening for sexually transmitted diseases.

This is especially true in Alaska and other rural areas. In some parts of Alaska, rape victims have to travel for days just to reach an Indian Health Service clinic, according to human-rights reports by Amnesty International. And many Indian Health Service clinics have no trained staff members who can provide physical and mental health resources for victims. (You can read about one Alaskan woman’s story — and the stories of other Indian women — in a piece I wrote last year.)

Palin opposes abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Roughly 25 percent of rapes result in unwanted pregnancies.

Alaska Native women already face discrimination when it comes to their right to choose. Thanks to the Hyde amendment, the Indian Health Service can’t use federal money to pay for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest against a minor or when the mother’s life is at risk.

In an interview last year, Charon Asetoyer, the director of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resources Center, had this to say about the Hyde amendment: “We’re the only race in the country that is denied access to abortion merely because of our race.”

Palin’ support of such legislation — and her stands on reproductive health in general — shows she might well be out of step with a large percentage of the women of her own state. We’ll have to wait and see how women across the country respond to her.

Comments

17 Comments

Tonya
Comment posted September 18, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

How could it be true that, “roughly 25 percent of rapes result in unwanted pregnancies”? Women are only fertile a couple days a month, and some women that get raped are not fertile at all (e.g. postmenopause). I think we need to be careful about undermining the rest of our message by inaccurate statements.


Joey Brockhouse
Comment posted September 19, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

When Palin was mayor of Wasilla Alaska rape victims in Wasilla were billed for their rape kit processing.


April
Comment posted September 20, 2008 @ 6:37 am

Thank you for the information. People need to know more about this VP candidate.


Wm Thunder Hawk
Comment posted September 23, 2008 @ 11:19 am

Palin's past record on Alaskan Natives is very dismal. We now know the truth. She's adept at sending out smokescreens to enhance her image, a very false image at that.


Susan
Comment posted September 23, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

I live here & I work for the Dept of Health & Social Services… you'd be amazed at what the Natives are forced to endure as far as their poor healthcare goes. They can't visit the hospitals the the rest of us do. The folks in Juneau have to go to ONE clinic and if they require any sort of hospitalization, they have to travel to Sitka, which is an expensive boat ride that they can't afford to pay for usually.


Susan
Comment posted September 23, 2008 @ 8:01 pm

here = Alaska


Tanya
Comment posted September 23, 2008 @ 11:40 pm

“The rate of rape and sexual assault among Indian women is 3.5 times higher than among women of any other racial group in America. In addition, sexual assault victims in Indian country frequently lack access to basic health resources, including rape kits and screening for sexually transmitted diseases.”

To be Indian is to be from the country of India. Just like to be American is to be from the country of Unites States of America. Please don't confuse Indians with Native Americans or Native Alaskans.


wiggles
Comment posted September 24, 2008 @ 2:10 am

RAINN and some other sources say the rate is about 5%.


Emy
Comment posted September 26, 2008 @ 11:45 am

Yes, but you understand that the actual facilities are named “Indian Health Service” clinic. Do you see how that's relevant in this article?


fmlndn71
Comment posted October 7, 2008 @ 11:03 am

It's obvious you are not educated on the United States Government because if you were you would know that 25 CFR it's title INDIANS and it dictates how the United States Government handles Indian issues. Yeah we are the only race that are handled in accordance with United States Federal Regulations 25 CFR INDIANS.


NDN_Woman
Comment posted October 9, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

I know that Indian Health care is bad compared to mainstream healthcare. I live in the Phoenix area near the Phoenix Indian Medical Center so it is not a long trip to the hospital. However, services are lacking but not as a lacking as described in this article. I have said over and over again…Sarah Palin is no Hillary Clinton. Palin is a big joke, a cruel witch of the north…pay for a rape kit??? She cannot be our next VP!


jp
Comment posted October 15, 2008 @ 6:03 pm

Susan, sounds like universal health care to me.


ml johnstone
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 11:12 am

I think that a female “Maverick” would be up their screaming about the poverty that exists in America. The number of children living in poverty
the need for medicare for everyone
affordable housing
unnecessary military expenditures
the no. of civilian deaths that her country is responsible for in other countries
the growing gap between rich and poor with wealth getting more and more concentrated in the top 3% of the nation's well to do.
She would question the number of houses anyone person can own and she would suggest that since they are so affluent perhaps they could give up one of those for a social housing project.
She would talk about the long history of women in patriarchy How they became property.
How women died from backroom abortions before some qualified doctors stepped in to help because as medical professionals they could no longer just witness the suffering.
She would insist that energy be focused on ProLife ,meaning : support the lives of all babies and children already born who need help and nurturing to survive.
She might even mention the rapes of women all over this nation,and even in the military.


ml johnstone
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 6:12 pm

I think that a female “Maverick” would be up their screaming about the poverty that exists in America. The number of children living in poverty
the need for medicare for everyone
affordable housing
unnecessary military expenditures
the no. of civilian deaths that her country is responsible for in other countries
the growing gap between rich and poor with wealth getting more and more concentrated in the top 3% of the nation's well to do.
She would question the number of houses anyone person can own and she would suggest that since they are so affluent perhaps they could give up one of those for a social housing project.
She would talk about the long history of women in patriarchy How they became property.
How women died from backroom abortions before some qualified doctors stepped in to help because as medical professionals they could no longer just witness the suffering.
She would insist that energy be focused on ProLife ,meaning : support the lives of all babies and children already born who need help and nurturing to survive.
She might even mention the rapes of women all over this nation,and even in the military.


Todd Palin and his heritage, the “Series of Tubes” looks at both the Palins- News Robot
Pingback posted January 21, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

[...] From the Washington Independant, more on Alaska sexual assault than purely Alaska Native women, but it makes the connection well.Palin and Alaska Native Women [...]


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