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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Check out “Eating Cultures” closing reception – TODAY 6-9pm in San Francisco! | #APAHM2014

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As we close out this year’s AAPI Heritage Month, I invite you to check out this really phenomenal multi-disciplinary exhibit in San Francisco — “Eating Cultures” — which was organized by the Asian Pacific Islander Cutural Center 17th annual United States of Asian America Festival, and the Asian American Women Artist Association.

Eating Cultures” is having it’s closing reception today at 6-9pm at the SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan Street, featuring music and a wonderful potluck! It is free and open to the public, but please try to RSVP on Facebook!

More after the jump!

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Report shows San Francisco’s AAPI residents experience high poverty, chronic disease rates

Bed-ridden Bao Qi Mo, 85, in the single-resident occupancy (SRO) room he shares with his family in San Francisco's Chinatown. High poverty rates and over-crowding have led to a deterioration of living conditions for some of the city's Asian American residents.  (Photo credit: Brant Ward, The San Francisco Chronicle)
Bed-ridden Bao Qi Mo, 85, in the single-resident occupancy (SRO) room he shares with his family in San Francisco’s Chinatown. High poverty rates and over-crowding have led to a deterioration of living conditions for some of the city’s Asian American residents. (Photo credit: Brant Ward / The Chronicle)

Jessica Kwong (@JessicaGKwong) of the San Francisco Examiner summarizes a recent report issued by the Asian Pacific Islander Council titled “Asian and Pacific Islander Health and Wellbeing: A San Francisco Neighborhood Analysis”. The report published several findings regarding the city’s Asian American population that challenge the Model Minority Myth, which asserts that Asian Americans are by and large “doing fine”.

Contrary to stereotypes, the Asian Pacific Islander Council’s report reveals that in San Francisco, 14% of Asian Americans live in poverty — lower than other racial groups — but that the population size of poor Asian Americans has grown by 44% in the last few years. As  also reflected with an in-depth look at national AAPI unemployment trends, the unemployment rate for Asian Americans was also 1.5x greater than city-wide averages. Many of those impoverished Asian Americans live in San Francisco’s Chinatown, where over-crowding has led to appalling living conditions for some families who are forced to squeeze entire families into rooms designed for single residents. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that San Francisco’s Chinatown — an ethnic enclave just under 1.5 square miles in area — was home to over 100,000 Chinese Americans in 2000, or two-thirds of San Francisco’s total Chinese American population.

The over-crowding of poor Asian Americans in Chinatown has become a subsequent strain on local social services, and has also contributed to high rates of mental illness and other chronic diseases. Yet these social problems are rarely addressed in the larger discourse on the city’s Asian American population; instead, most residents assume that San Francisco’s Asian American population are comprised predominantly of the city’s wealthy elite.

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CA State Sen. Leland Yee arrested, charged with corruption and illegal trafficking of guns

California State Senator, Leland Yee, was arrested on federal corruption charges this morning in a FBI raid. (Photo credit: CBS)
California State Senator, Leland Yee, was arrested on federal corruption and bribery charges this morning in a FBI raid. (Photo credit: CBS)

State Senator Leland Yee, who recently made news on this blog for his flip-flop-and-then-flip again on SCA5, was reportedly arrested this morning in an FBI raid; the investigation also included other state and federal agencies.

State troopers stand guard in front of Senator Yee's office at the State Capitol. (Photo credit: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)
State troopers stand guard in front of Senator Yee’s office at the State Capitol. (Photo credit: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)

Yee, who represents San Francisco and part of San Mateo County, and who is currently running for California Secretary of State, was arrested along with notorious former San Francico-area gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, after FBI and IRS investigators searched both Yee’s Sacramento-based office, as well as his San Francisco home. Both are scheduled to appear in court this afternoon.

(This post will be continuously updated with details as they are reported. This post was updated to include information about the charges against Senator Yee.)

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