“Grace Lee Boggs was a fierce champion for radical social change throughout her life. Her legacy is — and will continue to be — an inspiration to Asian American and Pacific Islander feminist activists. May we all live our lives with as much intention, intensity and inspiration. A different world is possible. Thank you Grace Lee Boggs,” said NAPAWF Executive Director Miriam Yeung. “We send our condolences to her family and friends.”
“The loss of Grace Lee Boggs marks the passing of a strong Asian American woman who passionately immersed herself in the critical social change movements of her time. My husband, Dr. Luke Tripp, and I shared her friendship for the last few years. I am honored and empowered to have known her, and to have shared with her some of the work we do at NAPAWF in health inequities and social justice,” said NAPAWF National Governing Board Member Hedy Tripp.
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF): NAPAWF is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing, and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for Asian & Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls.
By Amy Gastelum
Purvi Patel is currently serving 20 years of a 46-year prison sentence at the Indiana Women’s Prison in Indianapolis. She’s unique among the 600-plus inmates, the first woman to be convicted under Indiana’s feticide law for ending her own pregnancy.
The facts in Patel’s case are still murky, but on July 13, 2013, she appeared, bleeding, in the emergency room of St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center near South Bend, where she lived. At first, Patel did not tell doctors that she had been pregnant. But Patel still had a placenta inside her womb, attached to a severed umbilical cord. She later told doctors she had lost the pregnancy at home and left the fetal remains in a dumpster. This led to a police search, aided by one of the doctors who treated Patel. They found the remains, and police questioned Patel in the hospital after she emerged from an operation to remove the placenta.
In January 2014, a South Bend jury watched a video of that hospital-bed interrogation and heard controversial forensic evidence that the premature fetus had been born alive.
Patel has now filed an appeal of that conviction with the Indiana Court of Appeals. She’s represented pro-bono by Stanford Law professor Lawrence Marshall and Indiana University law professor Joel Schumm. Marshall’s representation, in particular, shows the precedent-setting importance of her case. Marshall previously founded the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.
“What I generally gravitate toward are cases where it seems like an intense passion has interfered with dispassionate interpretation and application of the law,” Marshall told the South Bend Tribune in April. “It struck me that this case may be a textbook example of that phenomenon.”
That tactic appears to underpin the appeal released today, in which Patel’s legal team writes, “Resolution of this appeal does not necessitate delving into any contentious issues. It requires nothing more than straightforward application of well-accepted neutral principles of law such as those this Court addresses every day.”
Patel’s lawyers argue “there are powerful reasons to challenge the conclusion there was a live birth.” But even if so, there’s little Patel could have done under such circumstances to save an extremely premature infant, the appeal states.
As for the feticide charge, the appeal argues that it was improperly applied to cover abortion, and that the conviction also violates Patel’s constitutional rights. Furthermore, Patel’s team writes, “the Feticide conviction depended on the plainly wrong position that one can be guilty of Feticide (i.e., the killing of a fetus) even if no fetus was killed (as the State adamantly maintains was true here).”
National advocacy organizations have authored two amicus briefs in support of the appeal. The first, by National Advocates for Pregnant Women and signed by several reproductive rights groups, states: “Allowing the judicial expansion of Indiana law to prosecute women in relation to their own pregnancies endangers public health and the civil rights of all people who are or may become pregnant.”
“While the Indiana General Assembly has unquestionably regulated abortion, and criminalized third parties who harm women’s pregnancies, it has not enacted a modern law that makes it a crime for a woman to have an abortion or experience a pregnancy loss,” the brief continues.
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and the Center on Reproductive Rights at the UC Berkeley School of Law make a more culturally-based argument against Patel’s conviction, pointing to a disconnect between women of color or immigrant women and the healthcare system. Prosecutors had argued that Patel illegally sought to terminate her own pregnancy with abortificants ordered online. She did not seek prenatal care and apparently attempted to keep her pregnancy a secret from her Indian immigrant family.
“The decision to self-administer medication for abortion may stem from a distrust of the conventional US healthcare system, which has a long history of abuses targeting people of color, immigrants, and indigent people,” the brief argues.
“Some immigrants, like native-born residents, do not know that abortion is legal in the US or are unaware of the intricacies of that legality. They may come from countries where abortion provision is completely outlawed, making self-induction common course as the only option, and assume that is the case in their new country as well.”]]>
Organization warns that pregnant women across the country could be at risk for prosecution
NEW YORK — Today, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) joined other Asian American and women’s health leaders in filing an amicus brief in support of Purvi Patel, a 33-year old Indian American, who is the first woman in the U.S. to be convicted and sent to prison for feticide in connection with an attempt to terminate her pregnancy. Patel was found guilty under an Indiana law that was passed to protect pregnant women from violence. Last March, she was sentenced to 41 years in prison. She was also convicted of the contradictory charge of child neglect.
Only two women have been charged with feticide under the Indiana law. Both are Asian women, despite the fact that abortion and miscarriage happen throughout the state and across races, and that only 2 percent of the state population is Asian.
“Purvi Patel is being singled out and persecuted because of ugly myths and negative stereotypes about Asian American women and their pregnancies,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the NAPAWF. “Women across the country are now at risk of being arrested for the outcomes of their pregnancies.”
These “fetal homicide” laws are on the books in 37 states. A study of arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women found that approximately 71 percent of those targeted were low-income women, 59 percent were women of color.
Patel was arrested after visiting an emergency room to treat vaginal bleeding. A doctor in the emergency room – who belongs to an anti-abortion group – called the police when he suspected that Patel had been pregnant. Women’s health advocates fear that arresting women for the outcomes of their pregnancy will have chilling effect, discouraging women from seeking health care.
“Today in Indiana – and 36 other states – every pregnant woman is at risk of arrest,” said Yeung. “All it takes is an overzealous prosecutor or a doctor with a political agenda.
Patel is appealing her conviction in the Indiana Court of Appeals and briefs will be filed on her behalf on October 2.
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only national, multi-issue Asian American and 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 AAPI women and girls.]]>
Recently I traveled to New York City to stand with Planned Parenthood alongside several legislators. As chair of the national board of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and a leader of the St. Cloud chapter, I joined clear and strong voices to support access for women’s health.
The false accusations raised by recent highly edited and misleading videos represent yet another attack on women and our health — an effort to stigmatize providers, politicize women’s health, and try to restrict abortion.
In reality, Planned Parenthood makes compassionate and critical health care accessible to Asian American families.
At Planned Parenthood, women can access the resources and information we need to plan our families so we can achieve our goals and shape our futures. Many women in the Asian American community face significant barriers to accessing health care, including language, culture, geographic location and economic status.
Young Asian American women face particular obstacles to reproductive and sexual health, including barriers to reliable information about sex, low rates of condom use, and a lack of culturally-specific sexual health programs and services.
In fact, a survey of Asian American women revealed that while two-thirds are sexually active, fewer than 40 percent regularly use contraceptives, resulting in unintended pregnancies. Planned Parenthood functions as a resource for providing sexual education, contraceptives, and empathetic care encompassing a range of options.
It is vital that residents of St. Cloud contact their local lawmakers and voice support for Planned Parenthood and access to health care for all women. I urge everyone — in the Asian American community and beyond — to reach out to our friends and family and ask them to stand with Planned Parenthood, a critical resource that supports women and families right here, every day.]]>
Read at The Nation.
By Julianne Hing
It was only a matter of time. After weeks of aggressive talk on immigration from GOP presidential candidates, immigrant rights activists and Tea Party demonstrators clashed in a face-to-face confrontation last Wednesday. More than a dozen people affiliated with the youth activist network United We Dream crashed a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill where Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz were the featured speakers, along with a roster of conservative heroes like Sarah Palin and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson.
“We knew we would be entering into a hostile environment,” Mario Carrillo, United We Dream’s communications manager, told me. “But it was shameful.” Things quickly got physical. There was shoving and pushing, Carrillo said. At one point, according to UWD, a Tea Party rallier yanked UWD member Erica Fuentes’ hair, and another spit on UWD member Astrid Diaz.
“Donald Trump seemed like a sideshow, but it’s gotten to the point that he’s riled up the far right wing. It’s not just about a wall. It’s not just about anchor babies. It’s stirring up fear in people,” Carrillo said. “His rhetoric is leading to real-life consequences.”
It’s easy enough to see Trump as a ringleader of a mad circus, traipsing across airport tarmacs and firing up voters in packed rallies with his signature squint and scowl. But as we ready ourselves for the second round of GOP debates this Wednesday night, it’s clear that the xenophobia at the core of Trump’s campaign is resonating, and his antics are already echoing beyond the campaign trail into both culture and policy.
Last month, a homeless Latino man in Boston was attacked by Scott and Steve Leader, two brothers who later told state troopers that they’d been inspired by Donald Trump, who was right about “all these illegals,” the AP reported. The brothers, who were later arraigned on assault, battery and indecent exposure charges, punched, kicked, and beat the sleeping man with a metal pole. They also urinated on him.
On September 4, 14-year-old Brian Zaragoza was walking home from the grocery store in Indianapolis when he was shot while the assailant, speeding by in a car, shouted anti-Latino slurs. A nearby taco stand was also hit by a similar shooting the same day. Cops have yet to label those incidents hate crimes, or say whether attackers were specifically targeting Latinos, Fox59 reported a few days later.
Whatever the motivations, these attacks on Latinos are too much coincidence for some—and the result of too much unchecked “slander” of immigrant communities, says Erika Almiron, executive director of Juntos, a Philadelphia-based immigrant rights organization. She’s watched the summer of blustery GOP debate on immigration with a mix of disgust and concern, forced as she’s been into a defensive crouch of constant vigilance.
Trump’s candidacy, which many wrote off as a joke at the start, is still a venture with limited long-term viability. His policy proposals have seemed to confirm the un-seriousness of that venture. Trump has proposed completing the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and sending Mexico the bill for its construction. He has called for mass deportations of every last one of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. He’s proposed separating all undocumented immigrants into “the good ones” and “the bad ones” before deciding whom to let back into the country. He considers the task of rounding up and deporting 11 million people a mere managerial puzzle, rather than a political, moral, or even logistical challenge.
“Politicians aren’t going to find them because they have no clue,” Trump told CNN in July. “We will find them, we will get them out. It’s feasible if you know how to manage. Politicians don’t know how to manage.”
But Trump’s absurdist policy ideas aren’t the point. He’s tapped into and intensified a nativist strain that defines today’s rightwing. “There seems to be a latent anti-immigrant sentiment that’s always boiling just under the surface,” says Tom K. Wong, an assistant professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. “It doesn’t need much kindling to revive this visceral-seeming level of anti-immigrant sentiment that many in the country seem to have.”
In July, the shooting death of a 32-year-old white woman named Kate Steinle in San Francisco ignited the imagination of conservative lawmakers across the country when it turned out that an undocumented immigrant and prior deportee named Francisco Sanchez was accused in her death.
“We will continue to fight for our families and to uplift our dignity and humanity.” -Mario Carrillo, United We Dream
Congressional leaders from both parties, including California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, floated bills which would force local law enforcement agencies in so-called “sanctuary cities” to more closely cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Grassley’s version, dubbed Kate’s Law by radio host Bill O’Reilly, would call for mandatory five-year prison sentences for any undocumented person convicted of illegally re-entering the country. The bill would also make sanctuary cities ineligible for certain Department of Justice grants. The House passed a version of Kate’s Law, which included similar financial penalties for cities that resist federal efforts to use local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration violations.
In August, weeks after Trump had already taken to referring to Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists,” he released his immigration plan, which included a call to “defund sanctuary cities.”
The meme worked its way all the way down to Philadelphia’s ongoing mayoral race, forcing Juntos to resume a battle it had already won. As candidates piped up in support of Kate’s Law, Juntos mobilized its members to defend an April 2014 executive order which severely limited the instances when local police must honor requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold onto people suspected of immigration violations. Juntos soon started referring to the effort to strip sanctuary cities of local control over immigration enforcement as “Donald Trump Laws.”
It’s Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship that has arguably stirred up the most controversy, however, and garnered him the most attention. Birthright citizenship, the idea that anyone born in the U.S. is automatically a citizen of the country, is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, which itself was intended to grant citizenship to freed slaves following the end of the Civil War. “Stories of the emancipation of slaves and how birthright citizenship came about to begin with are so important,” says Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific Women’s Forum. “The 14th Amendment was saying to recently freed black slaves that this country brought you here, but here you are. You are a citizen. You have rights. It’s so poignant.”
Yet Trump—and the list of other Republican presidential candidates who’ve expressed openness to repealing the right (among them: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson; score Jeb Bush in favor of closer scrutiny when it’s “related to Asian people”)—is not exactly an original thinker here. In raising the issue of birthright citizenship, today’s GOP merely follows in the tradition. Congressional Republicans have introduced bills to amend the 14th Amendment in every session since 1993, when California Republican Rep. Elton Gallegly authored a bill to limit birthright citizenship to children whose mothers were U.S. citizens or permanent residents, said Yeung.
Chipping away at the nearly 150-year-old right would require persuading the Supreme Court to overturn a 117-year-old ruling, or a constitutional amendment, and “we’ve created a very high, very undemocratic bar to doing that,” said Louis DeSipio, professor of political science at University of California, Irvine. “It’s an easy issue to rally around because the solution is so difficult,” he said. Owing at least in part to the extreme difficulty of amending the Constitution, birthright citizenship legislation has never even made it out of committee.
It’s impossible to know whether Trump is bandying about birthright citizenship as a piece of policy or performance, but, DeSipio said, “Trump has found an issue that very much resonates with voters—at least those in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina, and more importantly, with the people who are coming to rallies six months before the primaries.”
Almiron, of Juntos, has no choice but to take all of this seriously. “We’ve had hate crimes occurring against immigrants and Latinos,” Almiron said. “So if you give space for that kind of thinking it excuses that kind of behavior and it puts people’s lives on the line. And it’s not just them. The Democratic Party needs to step up and say that kind of talk is unacceptable.”
United We Dream’s Mario Carrillo, speaking about last week’s confrontation with Tea Partiers, said it was with all of that in mind that he and other activists sought out Trump’s supporters. “The number one thing we went there to accomplish was to let Donald Trump know that his anti-immigrant attacks will not stand. We will continue to fight for our families, and to uplift our dignity and humanity.”
The irony, he added, is that most of the UWD members who took part in the action Wednesday were U.S. citizens. “So it’s not an issue of immigration status. They saw people who didn’t look like them and immediately imagined they didn’t belong here.”]]>
NEW YORK – The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) activists and Executive Director Miriam Yeung will be among the 100 women who will march for immigrant rights. On Sept. 15, 2015, 100 women will set out from the York County Detention Center in Pennsylvania on a 100-mile pilgrimage, concluding in Washington, D.C., where Pope Francis is to meet with the president and address Congress. This pilgrimage is organized by We Belong Together, the #Not1More campaign and others. (NAPAWF is co-anchor of We Belong Together and Yeung is the coalition’s co-chair.)
Yeung and more than a dozen activists from her organization will share their stories about the hardships millions of Asian and Pacific American women immigrants face in the U.S. Within the total estimated 11.4 million undocumented individuals (in 2012), approximately 1.3 million are of Asian origin and more than 5.3 million are immigrant women. An estimated 58 percent of undocumented women are in the labor force. Due to various factors — such as limited English proficiency, gendered power dynamics around decision making within families, and financial constraints — many Asian American women work in low-wage and informal sectors of the economy, including as domestic workers and beauty and nail salon workers. These workers suffer poor working conditions and have no clear path to citizenship.
“The pope’s visit is an opportunity to shine a light on the plight of immigrant women and families in the U.S.,” said Yeung. “The immigration system is broken. We hope that Congress will get that message loud and clear.”
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF): NAPAWF is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing, and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for Asian & Pacific Islander (API) women and girls.]]>
by Eesha Pandit
In the first speech of his campaign for the GOP nomination, Donald Trump dove headlong into a conversation about immigration. Deviating from the prepared speech, Mr. Trump made the argument that has continued to frame his position on immigration. First, he argued that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are impinging upon the rights of American workers.
“They are beating us, economically,” he said.
The other element of his analysis of immigration was about the character of those immigrants, who he famously characterized as a threat to American society. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he asserted from a podium in the New York City’s Trump Tower. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”
Hedging his bet only slightly, he added: “Some, I assume, are good people.”
Since that day, Donald Trump has dominated his party’s primary. Night after night, news broadcasts report on his unwavering poll numbers as an interesting anomaly, dissecting the reasons for his unexpected success.
But Donald Trump’s success isn’t all that mysterious and it isn’t particularly new. He’s trafficking in the fear of a shifting American demographic. The story here is not necessarily the racist and anti-immigrant message anchoring Trump’s ideology. Instead, it’s the fact that so much of the Republican electorate is with him, and that other members of the GOP are unable to challenge his message for fear of losing that base.
More than half of Trump’s stump speech is a finely tuned anti-immigrant screed about the importance of building a wall, and getting criminals out of the country. He picked a fight with Jorge Ramos, beloved reporter for Univision and American citizen, at a national press conference last week. After that exchange, one of Trump’s supporters threateningly told Ramos to “get out of my country.”
Under “Positions” on Trump’s campaign website, there is only one issue listed: immigration reform. He is the anti-immigration candidate, and he’s winning his party’s primary.
The rhetoric of the Trump campaign is bombastic. He touts how tough he’ll be on China, how his business success inoculates him from needing to trade favors with lobbyists, how he’ll be humane as he deports 11 million undocumented immigrants, their families and their children. He reminded us, at the press conference in which he ejected Jorge Ramos, that “Hispanics love me!” All the while, he promises “make America great again.”
This begs the question: To which golden age of American greatness is Trump harkening? The answer of course is, it doesn’t matter. Trump’s message isn’t actually about the past, it’s about the future of this country: Who will live here, and how? Who will have power, and how? Will the fact that white people will be minority in America change the power structures within our social, cultural, political and legal institutions? These are the questions that Donald Trump is aiming to answer, and these are the fears he is so effectively stoking.
A cornerstone of Trump’s stump speech is the characterization of undocumented immigrants as criminals. At a recent speech in Mobile, Ala., he invoked the “rapist immigrant” once again as he beseeched his audience to understand his position, telling them, “A woman, 66, was killed, raped, sodomized, by an illegal immigrant. We have to do something.” Of course, it is entirely possible that an undocumented immigrant committed such a crime, despite the lack specifics in Trump’s speech. The statistics however tell us a different story about undocumented immigrants and crime. In the past 30 years, across all major American cities and throughout the country as a whole, the rates of violence crime and property crimeshave dropped, even as the rates of undocumented immigration has increased. Not to mention that several studies demonstrate that immigrants are less likely to be criminals than those born in the U.S.
But facts are rarely the driving force behind Mr. Trump’s claims. They always come second to fear-mongering. The truth is that undocumented immigrants are often targets of crime, and yet they are less likely to report those crimes. While Mr. Trump often mentions the women raped by undocumented immigrants, the facts tell us that undocumented women are disproportionately targeted for rape and sexual assault.
Archi Pyati, Director of Policy and Programs at Tahirih Justice Center explains the phenomena:
“Your employer can manipulate you,dramatically underpay you, give you no time off, tell you to keep your mouth shut about workplace abuses such as sexual harassment and assault, and use other tactics to violate your basic human rights and human dignity simply because you don’t have a work permit and fear calling the police because of your immigration status. Labor trafficking is rampant among undocumented women and there is a lot of overlap between that form of violence and many others, such as rape and assault.”
Mr. Trump’s rhetoric has pushed his compatriots running for the GOP presidential nomination to join the anti-immigrant fray, and making the slur “anchor baby” a fixture of the 2016 campaign. Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, tells Salon about the dangers of the myth of the “anchor baby,” by reminding us that these lazy characterizations of who Asian and Latina immigrants,
“take extreme characterizations or rare cases and generalize them to entire communities in an effort to make immigrant women, particularly immigrant women of color, more foreign. Both perpetuate harmful stereotypes about all Latinas and Asians. We become un-Americanized and all of our contributions as breadwinners, small business owners, domestic workers and backbones of our communities get erased.”
There are devastating consequences of this anti-immigrant sentiment that the GOP is peddling. Immigrants, those with papers and those without them, are targets for racist violence. Immigrant women’s bodies become national battlegrounds. “We’ve already documented the targeting of pregnant women for deportation,” Yeung says. “This rhetoric feeds into already overzealous interference with women’s reproductive lives.”
The challenge to birthright citizenship, the perpetuation of false information about violent immigrants, and the assertion that his goal is to “make America great again” has nothing to do with immigrants, as it turns out. Trump is betting that this GOP primary might serve as a referendum on White nationalism and the fear of a brown America. His party’s primary has become a nationalism-off. In recent weeks, candidate after candidate is seen vying for votes of those conservative white voters who support Trump because he’s speaking to their demographic anxiety. And Trump may or may not be offering a plan to make America “great” again, but by focusing on deporting immigrants he’s telling them that he certainly wants to make it White again.
NAPAWF Executive Director Miriam Yeung says attacks are a clear attempt to fuel racism and avoid meaningful conversation on immigration policy reform
NEW YORK — Predictably, the offensive term “anchor baby” has become a part of public discourse again as politicians seek to stoke anti-immigrant fervor. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Executive Director Miriam Yeung issued the following statement in response:
“The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum condemns use of the derogatory slurs against any child or mother, immigrant or not, and is appalled at the level of anti-Asian rhetoric in our national conversations at this time.
“Since the founding of this country, women have moved here to make life better for themselves and their families. It’s hard to move and it takes courage, but you do it to put food on the table or to send your kids to a decent school. The immigrant parents currently under attack are doing just that. Asian immigrants move here seeking the freedom and opportunity often denied in other places.
“We challenge elected leaders to stop the anti-immigrant and anti-Asian demagoguery. Asian Americans and all Americans need serious and sensible leadership on the many policy challenges confronting our communities, not hate speech. Asian American women and families need a roadmap to citizenship, clearance of our visa backlog crisis, and policies that honor the work that we do.
“America is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave; we need an immigration process that honors these ideals.”
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing, and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls.]]>
We Belong Together (co-anchored by NAPAWF and NDWA) gathers 100 women to walk 100 miles to welcome Pope Francis in Washington, DC to lift up message of hope for immigrant rights. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveils a manicurist’s bill of rightsto be posted in every salon. South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham reintroduces a federal version of the so-called Pain-Capable-Unborn Child Protect Act to which President Obama has vowed to veto. Read these stories and more on NAPAWF in this week’s APeye on the Hill:
One week after launching his presidential campaign for 2015, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that outlaws non-emergency abortions at or beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy. The law has no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, and according to Wisconsin legislative leaders, Gov. Walker had specifically requested these exceptions not to be included.
The enactment of this law makes Wisconsin, home to over 150,000 AAPIs, the 12th state in the country to ban abortions at 20 weeks, though federal courts have recently blocked similar legislation in Georgia, Idaho, and Arizona as they work their way through the courts.
On July 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that LGBTQ employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. Current civil rights law only explicitly prohibits sex- or gender-based discrimination, so the EEOC’s ruling was critical to protecting the workplace rights of LGBTQ people. In explaining their reasoning, the agency wrote that “Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is premised on sex-based preferences, assumptions, expectations, stereotypes and norms.”
Following the EEOC’s decision, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the Equality Act which would extend protections for LGBTQ individuals to areas covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, including housing, credit, education, employment, and public accommodations.
On July 22, a federal appeals court struck down a North Dakota law that banned all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which, in some cases, can happen as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy. The court reached its decision after acknowledging that U.S. Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade prohibits states from banning abortions before viability (typically thought to occur at around the first trimester). However, and interestingly, the court also engaged in a lengthy discussion of why the Supreme Court needs to reevaluate its jurisprudence and calling for Roe to be overturned. North Dakota’s AAPI population is one of the fastest growing in the country, up more than 85% since 2000.
On July 25, a federal judge ordered the release of children and their mothers who were caught crossing the border illegally or who presented themselves to border patrol seeking asylum. The judge found that the current system of mass family detention employed by the Department of Homeland Security violated an 18-year old settlement agreement from a class action lawsuit known as Flores that set guidelines for how immigration officials treated minors apprehended at the border. The judge held that the ruling also applies to children who are caught with their parents and that current family detention policies and practices failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. Immigration rights advocates have long advocated for the end of family detention centers, which have a history of human rights abuses and often retraumatize detained women and children, many of whom have experienced gender-based violence or other severe trauma in their countries of origin.
On July 25, a federal judge ordered the release of children and their mothers who were caught crossing the border illegally or who presented themselves to border patrol seeking asylum. The judge found that the current system of mass family detention employed by the Department of Homeland Security violated an 18-year old settlement agreement from a class action lawsuit known as Floresthat set guidelines for how immigration officials treated minors apprehended at the border. The judge held that the ruling also applies to children who are caught with their parents and that current family detention policies and practices failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. Immigration rights advocates have long advocated for the end of family detention centers, which have a history of human rights abuses and often retraumatize detained women and children, many of whom have experienced gender-based violence or other severe trauma in their countries of origin.
On July 25, a federal judge ordered the release of children and their mothers who were caught crossing the border illegally or who presented themselves to border patrol seeking asylum. The judge found that the current system of mass family detention employed by the Department of Homeland Security violated an 18-year old settlement agreement from a class action lawsuit known as Floresthat set guidelines for how immigration officials treated minors apprehended at the border. The judge held that the ruling also applies to children who are caught with their parents and that current family detention policies and practices failed to comply with the terms of the agreement. Immigration rights advocates have long advocated for the end of family detention centers, which have a history of human rights abuses and often retraumatize detained women and children, many of whom have experienced gender-based violence or other severe trauma in their countries of origin.]]>