True Test of Civilization What Does It Mean

While signing legislation last week banning nearly all abortions, South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds made a major statement about himself and the Religious Right. Governor Rounds stated,."In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society.".

That is an astonishing hypocritical statement, when one considers the fact South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is one of the bleakest socio-economic places in North America and half of the 10 poorest counties in America are in South Dakota. Yes, that statistic is correct: Half of the 10 poorest counties in America are in South Dakota.One has to wonder why five of South Dakota's counties rank among the 10 poorest in the entire country, for a state whose leader implies that South Dakota is the epitome of a civilized society.Sixty percent of families with children between the ages of 5 and 17 live below the federal poverty line in Shannon County, which encompasses most of Pine Ridge. In households defined as 'female householder, no husband present,' the number of children under 5 living in poverty is 68 percent, according to U.

S. Census Bureau poverty statistics.Are these the children South Dakota governor, Rounds was speaking of when he poetically stated how a civilized people treats its 'most vulnerable and most helpless?'.

Life expectancy on the reservation is 47 for men and 56 for women due to the lack of adequate health care. These numbers instantly prompt us to think of the misfortune of a third-world nation and it would be difficult for anyone to believe it is a statistic from anywhere in the United States. Shannon County also has an infant mortality rate that is twice the national average.

Child-welfare sources in Shannon County state infant mortality is up to five times higher than anywhere else in the United States.Unemployment in Shannon County is consistently over 80 percent, adolescent suicide is four times the U.S. average and many families have no electricity or telephone. With winter temperatures 25 to 30 degress below zero and sometimes 50 degrees below zero with the wind chill factor, one wonders how anyone survives.It is without doubt that those who are anti-choice are doing the least to support families and help children once they're born, and the political leaders continue to live their real creed: "Love the fetus, ignore children's needs.


.Dorothy M.

Neddermeyer, PhD, author, "If I'd Only Known.Sexual Abuse in or Out of the Family: A Guide to Prevention, specializes in: Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Physical/Sexual Abuse Prevention and Recovery. As an inspirational leader, Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life's challenges as an opportunity for Personal/Professional Growth and Spiritual Awakening. http://www.drdorothy.


By: Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD

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