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.
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.
Since 2001, Reappropriate has been the web's foremost Asian American activism, identity, feminism, and pop culture blog!