Study: Anti-Asian racism basis for anti-abortion bans in 8 states | #ReproductiveJustice

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Last year, nearly 500 restrictions on abortion and reproductive choice were proposed at the state level nation-wide. Among those abortion restrictions were bans on sex-selective abortion; bans that have now passed in eight states — Arizona, Illinois, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Kansas and North Carolina.

Advanced by Republican pro-life legislators, the ban on sex-selective abortions cite concerns that appear superficially feminist: to protect the “unborn” from gender discrimination prior to birth. Further, these bans are based on the assertion that male-biased birth ratios are evidence of sex-selective abortion; that these male-biased birth ratios are only found in India and China; that these male-biased birth ratios are evidence of sex-selective abortion occurring in the United States; that the growing influx of Asian women immigrants from India and China means sex-selective abortion is occurring here; and that the U.S. is one of the few remaining countries in the world that has yet to ban sex-selective abortion. As I wrote about last year, these are the kinds of arguments that are being expressed on the floor of state legislatures, and they are succeeding in restricting reproductive rights for women living in those states.

Yet, closer examination of the arguments of Republican legislators reveals that it is predominantly unfounded and wholly racist anti-Asian stereotypes — not facts — that serve as the principle justification for these recent restrictions on sex-selective abortions.

Continue reading “Study: Anti-Asian racism basis for anti-abortion bans in 8 states | #ReproductiveJustice”

Sign petition now to urge South Dakota governor to veto racist anti-abortion bill!

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Last month, I wrote about the South Dakota State Legislature’s efforts to pass further abortion restrictions in the state; in this case, to require mother’s to demonstrate that they are not pursuing an abortion in relation to the gender of the fetus. Shockingly, bill authors and defenders linked the need for this bill to the state’s growing AAPI population, invoking arguments that AAPI mothers are predisposed to sex-based abortions.

As I wrote last month:

Citing experience gained from their travels overseas, Republican lawmakers say that Asians culturally prefer male children over female children. They then cited twostudies that supposedly argue that the likelihood of East Asian families having a male child increases after having two girls, which the authors argue of at least one of these studies suggest may be evidence of pre-natal sex-selection. Then, they cite the US Census showing that South Dakota has a growing Asian population constituting 1.1% of the state in 2012.

Finally, in their logical piece de resistance: they argue that all women seeking an abortion in South Dakota last year who marked “Other” were Asian, and thus were seeking an abortion based on the sex of the fetus.

Check my previous post for why this bill is clearly racist, and draws upon historic fears of the immorality of Asian Americans to pass legislation that stoke the fears of racist hate.

Sadly, despite the efforts of women’s rights groups like the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (@NAPAWF), this bill — HR1162 — has passed the South Dakota State House and Senate, and is now on South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard’s desk.

Act Now! Please sign this petition to urge Governor Daugaard to veto HR1162, and share this post widely!

South Dakota: “We need to ban sex-based abortions because of Asians.”

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We’re a mere two months into 2014, and the year is already shaping up to break records on Republican irrationality. In South Dakota last week, state lawmakers passed a bill 60-10 that would ban sex-based abortion. Why, you might ask?

Because, say bill supporters, the state has a growing population of Asians, and Asians are all about aborting girl babies.

Continue reading “South Dakota: “We need to ban sex-based abortions because of Asians.””

I’m in the 78%: Asian Americans and Reproductive Choice

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014, marked the 41st anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, which established a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices — including abortion — under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Yet, over forty years later, abortion and other reproductive health policies that protect women’s rights continue to be under attack by the Republican Right. Yesterday’s anniversary of Roe was marked by anti-abortion rallies throughout the country, including thousands of pro-life activists who descended onto Washington D.C.’s National Mall. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is debating new guidelines under its national re-branding efforts that would encourage or even require pro-life party members to be more vocal in their anti-abortion stances. These developments predict escalating rhetoric over women’s reproductive health in the coming years; and this growing polarization is only likely to further hinder women’s access to reproductive freedom.

In some studies, Asian Americans women suffer among the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases; in one, 13.5% of Asian American women in 2001  reported a sexually transmitted infection (STI) compared to 8.3% of White women, and were four times more likely than Asian American men to report an STI. Furthermore, in 2000, 35% of Asian American pregnancies ended in abortion, compared to only 18% of pregnancies among White women. These rates occur despite some studies showing relatively high condom use among Asian American youth; some scientists have argued that despite these findings, cultural stigmas against conversations on sexual topics hinder a comprehensive sexual education among young Asian Americans, leading to gaps in reproductive and sexual health knowledge that can result in high rates of STDs (some that often go unreported) and unplanned pregnancies.

Taken together, these data clearly indicate that reproductive health is a critical, if woefully under-discussed, concern for Asian American women. Furthermore, any effort to target public policies that promote reproductive health access will impact women in our community.

Continue reading “I’m in the 78%: Asian Americans and Reproductive Choice”