Click here to tell the South Dakota legislature that Asian Americans are watching and we won’t let this kind of racism pass quietly under the radar!
The bill passed the South Dakota House last week by an overwhelming 60 to 10 majority and is being taken up in the Senate.
Stace Nelson, one of the Representatives that voted in favor of the bill warned of an invasion of abortion-seeking Asians in South Dakota:
“Let me tell you, our population in South Dakota is a lot more diverse than it ever was. There are cultures that look at a sex-selection abortion as being culturally okay. And I will suggest to you that we are embracing individuals from some of those cultures in this country, or in this state.”
This measure, like other similar measures we are seeing across the country, are nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The people behind them have never been friends to women, and the measure they propose has been deemed ineffective and a violation of human rights by experts on the issue.
We can’t let this kind of rhetoric go unanswered. If it passes, South Dakota will become the 8th state to pass a racist sex-selection abortion ban, setting a dangerous precedent.
Click here to tell South Dakota that we’re watching!]]>
By Molly Redden, Mother Jones | Tue Feb. 25, 2014 3:00 AM GMT
GOP lawmaker: We need to ban sex-based abortions because Asians live here now
South Dakota already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. But last week, Republican legislators there moved to make it even harder for women to have abortions—with a law they argue is necessary to stop an influx of Asian immigrants from aborting their female children.
On Wednesday, by a vote of 60 to 10, the South Dakota House passed a bill that would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus, or “sex-selective” abortions. Speaking in favor of the bill, Stace Nelson, a Republican state representative running for the US Senate, hearkened back to his time living in Asia as a Marine. “Many of you know I spent 18 years in Asia,” Nelson said. “And sadly, I can tell you that the rest of the world does not value the lives of women as much as I value the lives of my daughters.”
Don Haggar, another Republican state representative, warned that the values Nelson observed in Asia had already taken root  in South Dakota. “Let me tell you, our population in South Dakota is a lot more diverse than it ever was,” Haggar said. “There are cultures that look at a sex-selection abortion as being culturally okay. And I will suggest to you that we are embracing individuals from some of those cultures in this country, or in this state. And I think that’s a good thing that we invite them to come, but I think it’s also important that we send a message that this is a state that values life, regardless of its sex.”
Seven  states  already prohibit sex-selective abortions. In five states, the bans passed after the 2010 elections that swept Republicans into a record number of statehouses. South Dakota’s ban, which is now before the state Senate, would require physicians to ask women seeking abortions whether they are doing so because of the sex of the fetus. If a woman responds yes, her physician must refuse to perform the abortion, or else risk prison and fines.
Legislators who push these measures often tout them as feminist bills. But anti-abortion rights activists in South Dakota have been unusually explicit in arguing that it is necessary to ban sex-selective abortions because of the state’s burgeoning Asian population.
In early February, Spencer Cody, the vice president of South Dakota Right to Life, testified  before the House judiciary committee that due to the state’s changing demographics, sex-selective abortion has become “a South Dakota problem.”
In a PowerPoint presentation he showed to the judiciary committee, Cody referred to studies that found Asian American families tend to have more male female than female children. He then wrote, “1.1% or approximately 9,200 South Dakotans come from ethnic backgrounds that are known to practice sex selection,” and linked to US Census data  estimating that in 2012, 1.1 percent of South Dakotans were of Asian descent.
Another slide read, “Ethnic backgrounds that are known to practice sex selection account for up to 3.9% of all abortions in South Dakota.” It referred to South Dakota Department of Health statistics  showing that 3.9 percent of abortion patients in 2011 reported their race as “other,” that is, not white, black, or Native American. “It’s possible that this could be affecting as many as 24 abortions a year,” Cody concluded—assuming every woman who reported her race as “other” was Asian, and every one of them was seeking an abortion only because of the fetus’s sex.
“We’ve been saying that these bills are wolves in sheep’s clothing. But in this case, I think the wolf has left off the sheep’s clothing.”
“The racism and the stereotypes and the stigma is laid so bare here,” says Miriam Yeung, the director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. The group has long argued  that that sex-selective abortion bans perpetuate negative stereotypes about Asian American women. “We’ve been saying that these bills are wolves in sheep’s clothing. But in this case, I think the wolf has left off the sheep’s clothing.”
Haggar tells Mother Jones that he was not singling out any one ethnic group—although he specifically called out Nelson’s Asian travels in his remarks Wednesday.
Cody, asked why he dwelt on the number of Asians living in South Dakota, tells Mother Jones that he is confident that Americans of many backgrounds practice sex-selective abortions, but the only studies available focus on Asian Americans.
“We don’t have any hard data that says, ‘This number of sex-selection abortions are taking place in South Dakota,’” Cody says. “So we just used some demographic data. That’s really the only data we have to go on…The question, if this [ban] would actually affect any South Dakotans, is one we can’t answer yet.”
But Sneha Barot, a senior public policy associate with the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion-rights think tank, argues  that studies linking Asian American women to sex-selective abortions are “limited and inconclusive.” For example, two  studies  Cody cites found that in some Asian American groups, couples are more likely to have a son as their third child if their first two children are female. But neither study concluded this pattern was the result of sex-selective abortions.
Americans United for Life, the legal arm of the anti-abortion movement, cites these studies, too, in suggesting that Asian American women seek abortions because they prefer boys over girls. As a solution, the group promotes model legislation  for sex-selective abortion bans. But anti-abortion rights activists generally avoid references to such stereotypes about Asian women. Instead they characterize these bans as victories for feminism. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) called one proposed ban  a measure “to protect little girls from the violence of sex-selection abortion.” National Right to Life, in a letter to House members preparing to vote on a similar bill in 2012, asked legislators to think of the bill as a way to combat “a war on baby girls.”
Peggy Gibson, a Democratic state representative who voted against the South Dakota bill, said the right-to-lifers are pushing a phony issue. “I did not hear the sponsor of the bill give one iota of evidence that a [sex-selective] abortion has taken place in South Dakota. This bill…is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/south-dakota-stace-nelson-ban-sex-
Many thanks to our partners at the Coalition for Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia for testifying against the bill and to all our members who took action and contacted Virginia lawmakers!]]>
January 22nd marked the 41st anniversary of the landmark case, Roe v. Wade. President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to women’s health and NAPAWF celebrated with our Roe photo campaign with sisters, activists, leaders telling the world that they are in the 78% of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) that support some form of legal abortion. It’s not too late for you to turn in your picture declaring you’re part of the 78%!
Immigration reform is still a top priority for activists across the country. Last year, leaders Eliseo Medina (SEIU), Dae Joong Yoon (NAKASEC), Cristian Avila (Mi Familia Vota) and Lisa Sharon Harper (Sojourners), fasted with Fast4Families for 22 days with nothing but water to highlight the moral crisis and suffering caused by our broken immigration system. NAPAWF sisters joined the thousands fasting in solidarity for the month of December, 34 sisters each taking a day to fast for 24 hours and passing on the baton to the next sister. We believe that our collective actions and raised voices can send a message to politicians that our hunger for justice persists despite their inaction.
This week, Republicans in Congress are expected to release principles stating their support for a path to legal status, but not citizenship, for many of the 11 million undocumented adults living in the shadows. For undocumented immigrants who came here as young children, Republicans are expected to offer a path to citizenship. Asian immigrants to the U.S. now outnumber Latino immigrants, and women and children make up the majority of the 11 million. NAPAWF is working hard to ensure the concerns of AAPI women and their families are addressed in this debate.
The House is expected to vote on HR 7, a sweeping anti-choice bill, this week. Instead of proposing measures to address income inequality, conservatives are reinforcing inequality by making restrictions on abortion coverage for poor women who qualify for Medicaid permanent, and also extending the restrictions to private markets. This is another mean-spirited attempt to interfere with a woman’s personal decision-making, one that falls hardest on women who are struggling to get by. Over 1 million Asian American women are living in poverty. We’re working with the All* Above All campaign to stop HR 7 and to restore and sustain abortion coverage for low income women.
January 8th marked the 50th anniversary on the “War on Poverty” which led to the creation of social safety net programs like Medicaid, Head Start and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. These programs and gains in access to healthcare and reproductive rights have helped women balance raising a family and pursing economic and educational opportunities. A war on poverty and the “war on women” go hand in hand. Today, reproductive health attacks, like the Hyde amendment, affect poor women and women of color the most. See NAPAWF’s new infographic on how reproductive health restrictions affect AAPI women.
Jan 8th- NAPAWF applauds President Obama’s nomination of Chris Lu as the next Deputy Secretary of the Department of Labor. Lu will be the second Asian American to be nominated to a deputy secretary position. Lu is currently a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of Presidency and Congress. He started his career in public service in 1997, working for Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He eventually became acting chief of staff of Obama’s Senate office before moving to the Administration. During his time in the Administration, he also served as the Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
On January 24th, a federal judge struck down a 2011 North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound and explain it to a woman before having an abortion, arguing it violated the constitutional right to free speech of doctors. North Carolina has the third fastest-growing AAPI population in the country.
Under the legislation — which took effect in October 2011 — an abortion cannot be performed unless a woman receives state-specified information about the procedure, an ultrasound and a description of the ultrasound image. The woman does not have to watch the ultrasound screen or listen to the description, but she had to sign a document acknowledging that the description was provided. The document had to be kept on file for at least seven years.
On Jan 16th, a bipartisan group of members of Congress introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder decision last June that struck down a key component of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This bill includes modern protections on communities of color including protecting language-minority voters with a language-assistance provision. New provisions will allow language-minority communities, like AAPI communities, to combat potentially discriminatory tactics. Though women of color are voting at increasing rates— voter turnout rates for AAPI women doubled since 2000—we are more at risk of disenfranchisement as attacks on voting rights have persisted.
On January 24th, Marlise Munoz was taken off life support and released to her husband, Erick Munoz after an 8-week battle between her family and the hospital. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed in her home in November. After ruling her brain dead, following Texas law, the hospital kept Munoz on life support against the wishes of her family, in order to “continue the pregnancy on Munoz’s behalf.” Munoz had expressed that if she were ever to end up in this state, she would not want to be kept on life support. The hospital finally obeyed a court ruling to remove Munoz from mechanical support. Read more about thee dehumanizing pregnancy exclusion laws here.
On January 23rd, an Oklahoma judge ruled that a state law designed to make it more difficult to access emergency contraception in the state is unconstitutional, and permanently blocked the state from enforcing it. The ruling resulted from a hearing challenging HB 2226. The law, passed last spring, attempted to reinstate restrictions on access to emergency contraception that have been removed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We know AAPI women already face barriers to accessing contraception and there is evidence they are less likely than other women to use it. We are watching this issue because access to emergency contraception is important for AAPI women—the last thing we need is another obstacle to reproductive health.]]>
Immigration is largely understood as a Latino issue in the U.S., with deportations seen even furthermore in that light. Yet as Ju Hong, activist and immigration research assistant at Harvard University, recently wrote:
Two million of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in our country come from Asia….250,000 undocumented Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants have been deported. While we only make up five percent of the country, we are disproportionately impacted by…immigration policies…. more Asians and Pacific Islanders are in detention today than were in detention under the Chinese Exclusion Act
We stand with all immigrant communities fighting deportations as this issue is our issue and as our communities our deeply intertwined. We stand with Mr. Fuentes-Aguilar, a caregiver and economic provider to his child, an American citizen; a worker and soccer coach; a member of the Latino Union where he organizers for low wage immigrant worker rights alongside Filipina caregivers; an American without a criminal record or ties to his home country.
We find his deportation unacceptable in our city, which has technically been a sanctuary city since 2006. And, we furthermore find the circumstances of his detention—in which his Albany Park apartment building was raided and swept by ICE officers posing as police—unacceptable in our neighborhood, which is an immigrant stronghold home to many Asian American businesses and community service organizations.
We believe neither Mr. Fuentes-Aguilar nor any other immigrants in similar positions should be the victims of a broken system “driven by politics not public safety” in the words of the New York Times editorial board—or more specifically, driven by a quota to fill a daily average of 34,000 beds in detention facilities. This quota translates to nearly $2 billion in taxpayer dollars paid out to for-profit detention center corporations per year.
We believe that for any of us to become survivors of this system, all of us must together stand against the tide of deportations unraveling our communities. Not one more family should be separated against the will of its members for the sake of corporate profit, or pay the price for Congressional stalling over Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We are proud to join the fight to halt each and every unjust deportation in our city and ask allied organizations and individuals to consider doing the same.
Karin Lee, Nebula Li, Sarah Macaraeg, Joy Messinger, Leakhena Yoeun
Co-chairs, Chicago chapter
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
NAPAWF is the only national, multi-issue Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) women’s organization in the country. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for API women and girls.
Sarah Macaraeg, 312-315-8476, firstname.lastname@example.org]]>
On Thursday, December 12, 2013, NAPAWF co-hosted a Congressional briefing on the exclusion of immigrant women from health care and immigration policy. Executive Director Miriam Yeung spoke at the event about why immigrant women and their families deserve the same health care opportunities as their friends and neighbors, why now is a critical time to fix this problem, and public opinion being on our side. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham co-hosted the event and announced her intent to introduce legislation to address this problem in 2014.
Advocates for Youth * Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) * Center for Reproductive Rights * Guttmacher Institute *National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) *National Health Law Program (NHeLP) *National Immigration Law Center (NILC) *National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) *Planned Parenthood Federation of America *Young Women United
and honorary co-host
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1)
invite you to attend a briefing
Locked Out: the Exclusion of Immigrant Women from Health Care and Immigration Policy
Immigrant women are the majority of immigrants in the United States, are caretakers, entrepreneurs, DREAMers, and yet are often made invisible in the current immigration reform debate. In addition, immigrant women experience some of the most egregious, and preventable, health disparities of any group in the nation, largely due to lack of health coverage. Please join us to discuss the harmful impact of current immigration policy on the health and well-being of immigrant women and families, and policy solutions needed to reduce or eliminate those harms.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Cannon House Office Building 402
With presentations by:
Kinsey Hasstedt, Public Policy Associate – Guttmacher Institute
Miriam W. Yeung, Executive Director – National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum
Kimberly Inez McGuire, Associate Director for Government Relations and Public Affairs – National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
Jenny Rejeske, Health Policy Analyst – National Immigration Law Center
by Hedy Tripp, Times Writers Group
originally published at sctimes.com Nov 24, 2013
Immigrants are consumers, workers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs.
This is from the new report “The Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Minnesota” by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which champions comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. The report further shows how immigrants are clearly assets (Asian and Latino buying power in St. Cloud was $45 million in 2009).
As part of a recent chamber panel in St. Cloud, I was impressed to see the openness displayed in listening to a diverse number of immigrant and refugee voices.
An important viewpoint shared by the panel was how first-generation immigrants sacrifice a great deal so their children have access to lives their parents could only dream about.
However, as some panelists pointed out, racism, discrimination and xenophobia are all common challenges for newcomers, especially newcomers of color, when they come to this country and to St. Cloud.
This has been the history of immigrants to the U.S. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 was the first (and, at present, only) federal immigration law that targeted a race of people. It targeted Chinese workers and created a legacy of hatred against Asians in America.
As an immigrant woman, I am acutely aware that 75 percent of immigrants and refugees are women and children.
Gloria Steinem, speaking Nov. 19 at the We Belong Together National Press Club event, talked about why immigration reform is a top women’s issue. Steinem stressed we need to see immigrants as they really are.
She challenged us to question what this nation needs as a workforce besides high-tech jobs. She pointed out that as our population ages and lives longer, we are going to need workers for domestic care, elder care, etc., who are dominated by the “talented labor of women and often are immigrant women.”
We need more than 1 in 3 work visas going to women. We are still fighting for gender equality.
As an Asian-American naturalized citizen, I am also aware that Asian-Americans constitute almost 30 percent of our country’s immigrant population.
As part of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, I have been a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. Almost 1.5 million of the 11 million aspiring citizens who are living in the shadows are Asian-American. Asian-American communities also suffer the longest separations from their families due to visa backlogs — especially women from Japan, the Philippines and Thailand.
Immigration is about families. Immigrants have always relied on families for success. According to MomsRising, 5 million children in the U.S. fear being separated from their parents.
We need common-sense immigration reform that treats women and children fairly. The House needs to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that prevents families, including LGBT families, from being torn apart. Immigrants and refugees have rights, too — to health care and other assistance. They also need a clear road map to citizenship.
So the question goes back to whether we are willing — as the chamber report noted — to “act with economic and cultural self-confidence in the presence of globalization, and continue to welcome immigrants?”
Are we willing to live next to these new families and be open to learning new cultures? Are we willing to share the power of leading our city with our newer immigrants and refugees?
Are we willing to invite not only into our homes, but into our businesses, boards, commissions and councils qualified and diverse leaders from these communities and listen to their points of view?
The goal of racial justice and gender and economic equity will strengthen our communities and build a unified St. Cloud.]]>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 14, 2013
CONTACT: Shivana Jorawar, email@example.com
Washington, D.C.— The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) applauds the introduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act. The bill would create federal protections against state restrictions on women’s health that intrude upon personal decision-making. It includes protections against reason-based restrictions, including sex-selective abortion bans.
The bill was introduced on Wednesday by Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
NAPAWF Executive Director Miriam Yeung stated:
“The vast majority—69 percent—of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women and men believe abortion is a private matter government should not interfere in. Since 2011, over 100 dangerous and unnecessary measures that obstruct a woman’s personal decision-making have passed into law.”
“We thank Rep. Judy Chu and her colleagues for working to protect women’s health and constitutional rights. Every pregnant woman faces her own unique circumstances and potential challenges, and she must be able to make her own decisions.”
“We are especially pleased this bill fights back against deceptive sex-selective abortion bans that are spreading like wildfire in the states. Over 60 of these bans have been proposed since 2009. Put forth by conservative politicians attempting to chip away at abortion rights under the guise of women’s equality, they promote negative stereotypes about Asian American women, encourage racial profiling in the doctor’s office, and do nothing to further equality for women.”]]>
Last week, women have been showing Congress that immigration reform can’t wait and that a vote against immigration reform is a vote against women. Scroll down for a recap of the what we’ve done this week to show Congress that women and families aren’t going to stop until we win fair immigration reform.
Help us keep up the momentum — call your Representative at (800) 490-2010 and urge them to support immigration reform that keeps families together and treats women fairly!
Nearly 200 women rallied outside Representative McCarthy’s. McCarthy refused to meet, so 13 women — the Baker’s (field) Dozen! — waited in the lobby for him to change his mind even though they were not allowed food or drink while inside. After 10 hours of waiting, McCarthy came out of his home with his wife to the office at 11pm and met with the women for about half an hour. McCarthy didn’t agree to sign a pledge to lead the way for immigration reform that’s fair to women, but he told the women he was serious about solving the problem.
33 women, including NAPAWF chapter leader Priscilla Kyu, were arrested at the Republican Party Headquarters in Bellevue after refusing to leave the premises. The women sang “we shall overcome” and chanted “the people united shall never be defeated!” as the police arrived to arrest them. In response to the spirited protest, the Washington GOP office issued a statement saying they supported immigration reform, to which the women replied: “We need action, not words!”
After a rally calling on Representatives Joyce and Jordan to support a fair and just immigration reform, a crowd of women took over an intersection in downtown Cleveland near the Federal Building. Nine women including labor and faith leaders were arrested for blocking the intersection and for shining a light on the need for immigration reform that’s fair to women and keeps families together.
70 people, 65 of them women, rallied to demand a meeting with Representative Mario Diaz-Balart. Rather than meeting with them, Diaz-Balart’s staff called the police who locked the door to the office building, barred their entrance, and said that only 50 people would be allowed to outside. The 50 who were allowed to stay rallied until Rosana Araujo, an undocumented immigrant and domestic worker who has lived and worked in Diaz-Balart’s district for 10 years, was allowed into the building to deliver a statement to his staffers. She came back out in tears, reporting that the staffers said Diaz-Balart would not sign onto HR15 because he wanted to advance his own bill, and that people from all the protesting organizations were not welcome back at their office. In response, the women are planning to return.
35 members of the TIRRC Women’s Committee raised a balloon banner outside of Representative Marsha Blackburn’s office in Franklin, TN. Blackburn’s staffer initially refused to meet with them, but eventually cracked open the door and allowed them to deliver their message. The women demanded that Rep. Blackburn withdraw her support for the SAFE Act, explained the impact it would have on women and families, and demanded that she instead embrace immigration reform that treats women and families fairly.
35 Women visited Representative Pittenger’s office and delivered a heart filled with photographs of women and children from his district who are impacted by our failed immigration system. The delivery was led by women whose husbands are currently facing deportation. His staffers, though a little shocked at the numbers of women suddenly filling their office, received them and thanked them for coming and said they would deliver the heart and their message to Rep. Pittenger. This action was fully organized by 5 undocumented women.
35 women including mothers and their children marched to the Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta and delivered their representatives a balloon banner with a message — it’s time for their party to take responsibility to advance immigration reform!
50 people rallied outside Texas Republican Headquarters in Odessa, TX after a meeting with the Republican members of Congress and their staff to urge them to push their party leaders to move forward on fair immigration reform. The rally featured all women speakers, testimony from undocumented women, and a DREAMer from a mixed status family carrying a balloon banner that read: “Women to Republicans: fair immigration reform now!”
Dozens of people rallied outside Rep. Paul Ryan’s office in Racine, urging him to take action on immigration reform that’s fair to women and keeps families together. 12 women, including three generations of the Anguiano family — daughter Cecilia, mother Sofia, and grandmother Luz Maria took over the street in front of his office. The women were issued citations and vowed to continue to fight for immigration reform that allows families to be together.
The government shutdown lasted for an inexcusable 16 days and cost taxpayers a whopping 24 billion dollars. House Republicans held the country hostage to their demands of repealing Obamacare and even attempted to restrict women’s access to contraception and preventative care in this budget battle. Congress wasn’t able to reach an agreement until hours before the U.S. would have gone into default from our national loans.
The federal shutdown severely impacted hundreds of thousands of federal workers and a wide range of federally supported programs, including education, housing and health programs that our communities rely on. Programs for women and children, like Head Start and the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for women, infants and children (WIC), were severely affected. Further, women make up the majority of “nonessential” government employees who were put on furlough, and are also the majority of new Social Security applicants who had to wait until the government is back in business to get the financial support they need.
While Congress ultimately reached an agreement, it was only a temporary fix, funding the government until January. We need a sustainable, long-standing budget that doesn’t hold our country hostage.
Despite some House Republicans’ best efforts, enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began on October 1. About 2 million uninsured Asian American and Pacific Islanders will be able to receive affordable health coverage through the exchanges. While there are technological difficulties being worked through, like the website and long call center wait times, the plans are a win for women. They will include birth control and pregnancy care, well-woman visits, emergency care, hospital stays, mental health and more. Financial aid is available to help women and families afford private health insurance plans, and some low-income people will be able to get free or very low-cost public insurance. You can get help applying for coverage and choosing a plan by visiting a non-profit “navigator” agency in your neighborhood, calling a help line or going on line.
For more resources on how you can enroll today, visit:
Local and in-language help
Raising Women’s Voices
Women 4 Healthcare
On October 8th, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand comprehensive immigration reform. Hundreds were arrested, including Congressmembers Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. Charlie Rangel (NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), Rep. Joe Crowley (NY), Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), and Rep. Al Green (TX). NAPAWF applauds these legislators for their commitment and leadership during this time.
President Obama addressed the nation on October 23 with leaders of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) standing behind him. He called on the House to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority and fix our broken immigration system. Read NCAPA’s statement here.
On October 2, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Caucus introduced HB 15, an immigration bill that closely resembles the Senate version. The bill provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and clears the visa backlog that has kept people from reuniting with their families for years—this is an especially positive provision for the AAPI community, because the largest number of people waiting to be reunited with their families are in Asian countries. Some Filipino families have been waiting upwards of 20 years. The bill also provides worker protections for women working in the informal sector. While the bill includes many great provisions, NAPAWF is still advocating for it to include healthcare access for new immigrants and to preserve visa categories for adult children and siblings.
As we gear up for the holidays, we are starting our annual “Wish for the Holidays” campaign. There are 5.5 million children in the U.S. with at least one parent who is at risk of being deported. Millions of families have been separated by a seemingly endless backlog in the family visa system.
There is a way through now. The U.S. Senate has passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would keep millions of families together. But the House of Representatives still needs to act. Congress needs to hear directly from the voices of our future: our children. Our kids and our families cannot wait any longer.
Through A Wish for the Holidays, thousands of young people will write letters and draw pictures to share one powerful wish with Congress: “Keep our families together! Pass fair immigration reform now!” In December, we’ll deliver these letters to Washington, DC, demanding that Congress take action. Click here to get involved!
Juana Villegas finally settled a five-year legal battle regarding her detainment by Davidson County police and being forced to give birth shackled to a hospital bed in 2008. She received $490,000 for what she went through. Villegas was stopped for a traffic violation and then was taken into custody and detained because of her immigration status. She was nine months pregnant and was forced to give birth to her son in prison. Villegas was shackled to a bed throughout her labor, and prevented from seeing her newborn son for two days after. Villegas’ case is a prime example of reproductive injustice and how a woman’s immigration status can severely impact her reproductive choice and freedom. Immigrant women make up 51% of all immigrants, and their immigration status affects their access to healthcare and the consequences they face for minor offenses. Instead of a simple traffic citation, Villegas was placed in prison and forced to give birth while shackled.
Unfortunately, shackling incarcerated pregnant women while giving birth is not an uncommon occurrence. While there is no longer a federal law requiring incarcerated women to be shackled during delivery, only 13 States have banned this practice. In most state prisons, local jails and detention centers, restraints are routinely used on pregnant women when they are in labor and when they deliver their children. The practice of shackling is unnecessary and inhumane and goes beyond appropriate punishment for a crime.
On October 9th Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 154, which expands access to abortion care. The bill allows nurse practitioners and other qualified health professionals to perform the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy after completing specific training and complying with standardized medical protocols.
California is a leader in improving access to abortion care. This bill is a big step forward in helping women in rural areas where there may not be providers. Additionally, this bill may ultimately cut the cost of abortion care, which we know is a significant barrier for many women. California has the second largest AAPI population in the country and this will significantly benefit AAPI women who need abortion care.
Governor Brown also signed AB 980, which requires that all primary clinics are treated the same under the state building code, regardless of whether they provide abortions. While other states are passing restrictive building codes for abortion clinics in order to drive them out of business, California is ensuring that clinics providing abortions aren’t being singled out.
This October, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) implemented the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is our nation’s main response to domestic and sexual violence. This law, passed in February and signed by President Obama in March, explicitly addresses lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of violence for the first time.
VAWA names LGBT people as underserved populations in need of specific attention to address the unique issues they face as survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual violence and stalking and it prohibits VAWA grantees from discriminating against survivors of violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity when providing services.
A Nebraska state court denied a 16 year old girl’s request to bypass parental consent requirements in order to obtain an abortion. A ward of the state, her biological parents had their parental rights removed when it was proved that they were physically abusive and chemically dependent.
The court deemed that the girl was not “mature enough” to make this type of decision, despite her showing of mature reasoning at a legal hearing. She worried that she didn’t have the financial resources to support a child or to be “the right mom that I would like to be right now.” Somehow, according to the court’s logic, she’s too “immature” to have an abortion but “mature enough” to have a child.
Nebraska is one of eight states that require notarized consent for a minor to obtain an abortion. Thirty-nine states require at least some level of parental involvement. This is a harsh example of how these parental consent requirements significantly block abortion access for those who need care most.
Twenty-eight year old Alicia Beltran was arrested and detained at a drug treatment facility in Wisconsin because authorities thought she was a danger to her fetus. Beltran confided in health-care workers about her prior use of painkillers and her efforts to end that use on her own during an early prenatal care visit. Despite no evidence that she was using drugs while pregnant, Beltran was arrested after refusing to take an anti-addiction drug on the grounds. Beltran was refused a lawyer, but found out that the Judge already granted her fetus its own lawyer. National Advocates for Pregnant Women is seeking Beltran’s immediate release and is a leading organization working on the issue of criminalization of pregnant and parenting women.
Wisconsin is one of four states, along with Minnesota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, with laws specifically granting authorities the power to confine pregnant women for substance abuse. But many other states use civil-confinement, child-protection or assorted criminal laws to force women into treatment programs or punish them for taking drugs.
For example, in Indiana, Chinese immigrant Bei Bei Shuai was charged with murder of her child because she attempted suicide while she was pregnant by consuming rat poison. While suicide is considered a mental health condition and not a crime, Shuai was charged with murder after the baby died three days after Shuai gave birth.
Extremists are “protecting fetal rights” to the exclusion of the health and life of the mother. Locking up a pregnant woman does not help the woman or the child. Advocates have challenged the Wisconsin law.
Only three days after a federal judge blocked a new Texas law that threatened to shut down many of the state’s abortion clinics, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the decision, saying the rule should take effect while the case is argued. This case will stop as many as 13 of the 36 clinics from providing abortions in the state.
These clinics have been unable to satisfy an unnecessary, burdensome requirement targeted at abortion providers that doctors performing the procedure must have formal admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. Texas is home to the third highest number of Asian women in the country, following California and New York.
US District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked part of the extremely restrictive law. Yeakel struck down requiring doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Yeakel ruled the provision unconstitutional because it is an “undue burden” for women seeking an abortion. The Texas Attorney General appealed the decisions. The case is likely to move on to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A New York judge has decided to consider a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy as potential evidence that she is unfit to parent her two young children. 38-year-old Lisa Mehos had an abortion nearly a year after she divorced her husband. Because she did not tell her ex-husband about the decision, his lawyers are arguing there is proof of her dishonesty and emotional instability and her credibility should be in question. Mehos said “The court jumped at the chance to use the stigma of abortion to openly scorn, interrogate, and question my ability to be a worthy parent,” she noted.
Abortion is much more common than most Americans may realize. We just don’t talk about it. One in three U.S. women has had an abortion in her lifetime, and AAPI women are not an exception. Although very few reports exist on the rate at which AAPI women are utilizing abortion services, those that do exist suggest a relatively high use of abortion among specific ethnic subpopulations, most notably Chinese American, Korean American, and Thai women.
Contrary to preconceived notions about the “trauma” of ending a pregnancy, research has consistently found that it’s not inherently an emotionally damaging experience. And, when women who have abortions do have negative emotions associated with it, it’s often a result of the societal stigma that surrounds it — they worry about other people finding out and judging them. This issue of stigma is especially salient for women in our community, who experience some of the highest rates of mental health conditions and suicide.]]>