Why NIFLA v. Becerra is a Watershed Moment for Women of Color

The U.S. Supreme Court building.

By Guest Contributor: Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director, NAPAWF

This week, as the Supreme Court begins hearing NIFLA v. Becerra, we need to remember what is at stake. This is a case that could redefine public accountability for organizations that provide false information or mislead women about their reproductive health options under the guise of religious freedom.

For years, fake women’s health centers have exploited women by masquerading as real health clinics, often locating next to real clinics, adopting nearly identical names, and even clothing their non-medical staff in scrubs – all to give the impression of being accredited health providers. The plaintiff in the case now before the Supreme Court, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), joins these fake women’s health centers in trying to overturn the Reproductive FACT Act – a commonsense California law which requires these storefront operations to explain that they are not a licensed medical facility and provide information on how to find one.

This law was enacted to curb the harm caused by fake health centers and reduce the delays in getting real care that women experience when they are duped by these blame-and-shame tactics. Women need accurate information about their options when it comes to pregnancy and family planning – not politically-motivated shame, coercion, or misinformation. We need to expose the truth about these fake centers before their lies endanger the health and safety of any more pregnant women – especially low-income pregnant women, women of color, and immigrants.

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BREAKING: Purvi Patel Released After Appeals Court Overturns Feticide Conviction

Purvi Patel (Photo credit: Lawrence Marshall)
Purvi Patel (Photo credit: Lawrence Marshall)

Just over a month after her feticide conviction was overturned by an Indiana Appeals Court, Purvi Patel has been freed.

Patel had been charged and convicted of the conflicting charges of feticide (actions leading to the death of a fetus) and child neglect (neglect of a living infant) after suffering what she describes was a miscarriage that resulted in the loss of her 25-week-old fetus. Patel was the first woman in Indiana to be successfully tried under the state’s new feticide laws after the law was also used to pursue charges against another pregnant Asian American woman who had lost her fetus, even though Indiana’s feticide law had originally been passed to protect pregnant women from domestic abuse resulting in loss of their pregnancy. After a much publicized trial, Patel’s guilty verdict resulted in a 20 year jail sentence that outraged feminists and reproductive rights activists (myself included).

Earlier this summer, an Indiana Appeals Court reexamined the case against Patel, and ruled that the feticide law had been inappropriately applied beyond the scope of its original intent. The appeals judge in Patel’s case wrote in the favorable decision, “given that the legislature decriminalized abortion with respect to pregnant women only two years before it enacted the feticide statute, we conclude that the legislature never intended the feticide statute to apply to pregnant women.”

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43 Years after Roe v. Wade, Reproductive Rights Still Matter to AAPIs | #Roe43

I wore a lot of pink and stood on a street corner and chanted for an hour today. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)
I #StandWithPP. (Photo credit: Jenn / Reappropriate)

43 years ago today, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that would serve as an important foundation principle for the establishment of reproductive rights for women. In a 7-2 decision, the Justices ruled that the government had no right to interfere with a woman’s decision to seek (or not seek) an abortion for non-medical reasons; this choice, they declared, was protected by our constitutional right to privacy.

Since then, Roe v. Wade has had an incredible impact on women, enabling an unprecedented social, political and economic mobility for women in general.

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2015 Asian America in Review: Top 10 AANHPI Stories You Might Have Missed

Sherry Chen and Xiaoxing Xi, two Chinese American researchers who faced espionage investigations this year before all charges were dropped. Many within the AANHPI community believe they are one of several victims of a policy of anti-Asian racial profiling currently being pursued by the State Department. (Photo credit: Saul Loeb, AFP, Getty)
Sherry Chen and Xiaoxing Xi, two Chinese American researchers who faced espionage investigations this year before all charges were dropped. Many within the AANHPI community believe they are one of several victims of a policy of anti-Asian racial profiling currently being pursued by the State Department. (Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty)

As the year winds down to a close, these are the top ten political stories that had a major impact on the AANHPI community highlighting the many political issues that have defined the AANHPI community this year. Sadly, many didn’t receive much mainstream media coverage.

How many of these stories were you following this year?

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Appeals Court Dismisses NAACP & NAPAWF Lawsuit Challenging Arizona’s Racist Anti-Abortion Ban

racism-hurts-arizona

Earlier this year, I named the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) one of my Giving Tuesday Top 5 organizations for their tireless advocacy around racial justice and women’s rights. NAPAWF has been at the forefront of many key issues relevant to the the AANHPI community, chief among them reproductive rights. For years, NAPAWF has engaged in a state-by-state fight to protect our reprodictive rights (which is of particular importance for the AANHPI community) in part by challenging conservative efforts to rollback abortion access with overtly race-baiting bans on abortions if doctors find that the procedure is sought for reasons such as fetal sex. Despite the lack of any evidence that women are seeking such abortions in any significant numbers, these restrictions are passed on the basis of stereotyping of Black, Asian and immigrant parents as immoral and sexist. Further, these racist laws have received scant commentary or criticism from mainstream media or center-aisle Democrats.

Two years ago, NAPAWF joined forces with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to file a lawsuit challenging one particularly vile and racist abortion ban in Arizona, which is noteworthy for its unusually explicit fear-mongering of Black and Asian women during debate that preceded passage of this as the first bill to ban race-selective abortion in addition to sex-selective abortion.

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