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

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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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Jindal Cuts Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood as Senate Efforts to Defund Group Fail

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

In the wake of a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood — one of the nation’s largest healthcare service providers for women (as well as men and youth) — the Senate voted last night on a bill that would have prohibited federal funds from going to the organization. That bill received 53 yea votes to 46 nay votes, 7 short of the 60 needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster, effectively defeating the proposed measure.

Women’s health advocates can breathe a little bit easier after last night’s defeat of conservative efforts to dismantle a network of clinics that serve over 2.7 million patients nationwide, many of them low- or middle-income women. Although Planned Parenthood is a perpetual target of pro-life hate-mongers, the group actually provides a broad range of reproductive and general healthcare services, including sex education, contraceptive care, and pre-natal care, as well as tests and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases. Less than 5% of the clinic’s patients arrive seeking abortion services.

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Purvi Patel Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Death of Her Fetus

A court sketch of Purvi Patel, who was sentenced today after a court found her guilty of feticide and child neglect in the death of her fetus.
A court sketch of Purvi Patel, who was sentenced today after a court found her guilty of feticide and child neglect in the death of her fetus.

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Why are feticide laws disproportionately criminalizing pregnant women of colour?

purvi-patel
Purvi Patel was convicted last month on charges of feticide for what she maintains was the miscarriage of her late-term fetus.

Last month, Purvi Patel faced two seemingly contradictory charges filed against her by the state of Indiana: feticide (actions leading to the death of a fetus in utero) and child neglect (actions that injure or cause death to a child resulting from a live birth). After a lengthy trial, the 33-year-old Indian American woman was found guilty on both counts in the death of her late-term fetus.

The State contends that Patel took black market drugs obtained from Hong Kong to induce a late-term abortion. This argument is based on text messages between Patel and a friend in which Patel considers buying those illegal abortion-inducing drugs. Yet, there is no evidence that Patel actually purchased any such drugs, and no traces of drugs were found in either Patel or her fetus.

Patel’s defense says the criminal charges were punitively filed over a death resulting from a traumatizing miscarriage.

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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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