San Francisco adopts resolution prohibiting sex-selective abortion bans

San Francisco Supervisor, David Chiu.
San Francisco Supervisor, David Chiu.

Earlier last week, I wrote about a resolution authored by San Francisco Board of Supervisors representative David Chiu prohibiting sex-selective abortion bans. Those bans  have been built upon racist, anti-Asian logic to reduce abortion access for all women, and in particular to stigmatize reproductive health for Asian American women. Chiu’s resolution, which would ban sex-selective abortion restrictions in San Francisco and call on other city and state legislators around the country to do the same, was co-authored by fellow Supervisors Jane Kim, Katy Tang, London Breed and Malia Cohen.

Chiu’s resolution (read the full text here) was on the agenda for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ meeting yesterday, and NBC News reports that the resolution was fully endorsed by the board without the need to go to a vote.

That makes San Francisco the first city to ban these racist abortion restrictions, sending a powerful message to the rest of the country.

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San Francisco poised to become first city to ban racist anti-Asian abortion bans

San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu has introduced the nation's first resolution that would ban sex-selective abortion bans.
San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu has introduced the nation’s first resolution that would ban sex-selective abortion bans. (Photo credit: Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle)

Over the past several years, anti-abortion lawmakers have been using a variety of legislative tactics to throw legal barriers in front of abortion access; their goal being to make abortion so difficult, bureaucratic and harrowing a process as to render it a completely impractical option for most women seeking reproductive care. From proposing a host of manipulative restrictions or bans (such as fetal heartbeat bills) or attacking clinic buffer zones designed to protect patients from the harassment of street protesters, the new war on Roe is being waged incrementally. Abortion opponents no longer seek to overturn Roe in one fell swoop, but instead hope to give Roe a death by a thousand papercuts.

One recent tactic in  vogue among Republican anti-abortion lawmakers is to seek to pass a new kind of anti-abortion bill: one so racist and sexist as to demand outcry from Asian American advocacy groups. In the last few years, these anti-choice legislators have put forward over 60 bills in various states, seeking to outlaw sex-selective abortion: abortions purportedly conducted based on the fetus’ sex and specifically to select for male children. The rationale for these bans is that because sex-selective abortions are allegedly widely practiced in countries like China and India (a recent study suggests they are not — male-biased sex ratios are found throughout the world including in White-majority countries, and surveys reveal no universally stated preference for male children over female children in Asian countries), and because Asian Americans are among the fastest growing racial population in the country, that sex-selective abortion bans are necessary to prevent Asian and Asian American women from essentially bringing sex-selective abortion practices to the states.

Although GOP lawmakers assert that the justification for sex-selective abortion bans is a feminist one, a close consideration of their rationale reveals that it is actually based on nothing more than thinly-veiled anti-Asian woman stereotyping. There is no evidence that Asian American women are practicing sex-selective abortion in any part of America; yet this law allows the myth of the immoral and misogynistic Asian American parent to persist not only unchallenged, but now as part of state law in eight states.

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Dear @HobbyLobbyStore — Yes, I am boycotting you right now. | #HobbyLobby

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Hi, Hobby Lobby. It’s me, Jenn.

I heard you won a pretty big court case today, one that established your constitutional right as a corporate conglomerate-person to infringe on my rights as an actual person-person. I heard you congratulating yourselves in what you dubbed a major blow in defense of the free practice of your religion (centered around cheaper healthcare costs?) and free expression of your political beliefs (centered around being a jerk?), both of which apparently involve limiting the reproductive rights of the women who work for (within?) you.

Well, I have the freedom of expression, too. And, I think this decision is stupid.

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SCOTUS’ #HobbyLobby decision a monumental step backwards for women’s rights

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Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled against abortion clinic buffer zones in Massachusetts, arguing that a woman’s right to unobstructed access in seeking reproductive health services was of less weight than the right of protesters to abusively taunt and harangue her with their political opinions.  In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS judges ruled that Massachusetts’ abortion clinics’ 35 foot buffer zone around abortion clinic front doors, which effectively restrict all non-clinic employees or patients from congregating and blocking access (regardless of political affiliation), is unconstitutional. This decision despite the fact that SCOTUS protects buffer zones (many larger than health clinic buffer zones) around polling places and even the Supreme Court itself.

In practice, last week’s decision established that a woman’s right to privacy and reproductive choice is less constitutionally important than the right of protesters to verbally abuse her.

Today, SCOTUS made a second heinous ruling in regards to women’s rights. SCOTUS ruled in favour of Hobby Lobby against portions of the Affordable Care Act that mandated abortion and contraceptive coverage. Hobby Lobby lawyers asserted the right of the company to — on religious grounds — refuse health insurance plans for employees that includes contraceptive and abortion care coverage, regardless of the employee’s own political or moral opinions on the subject.

Or, more specifically, to permit employers to force its stance on abortion access onto their employees.

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SCOTUS ruling against MA’s abortion clinic buffer zones hinders women’s access to reproductive choice

An anti-choice protester harasses a woman and her clinic escorts as she crosses the yellow line into the clinic buffer zone. Photo credit: ThinkProgress
An anti-choice protester harasses a woman and her clinic escorts as she crosses the yellow line into the clinic buffer zone. Photo credit: ThinkProgress

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously today that Massachusetts’ abortion clinic buffer zone ruling is unconstitutional. In 2007, the state amended the state-wide Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act to make it illegal to congregate within 35 feet of the entrance of an abortion clinic, including on public sideways and roadways.

The amendment was implemented to directly address an oft-used tactic by the anti-choice Right: the harassing and abusive screeching and finger-wagging that seeks to shame women entering clinics for seeking an abortion (whether they are actually doing so or not).

The SCOTUS decision paints a euphemistic picture of this strategy, labeling it the righteous exercise of free speech. They call it “sidewalk counseling” and refer to two tactics they’ve now ruled as protected by the First Amendment: the right to close person-to-person contact between protester and patient, and the right to distribute literature.

This is a disingenuously charitable description of what these protesters actually do.

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