May 28, 2019
Contact: Jennifer Wang

WASHINGTON — In a per curiam decision today, the Supreme Court denied petition for review of an Indiana law banning abortion on the basis of sex, race, or disability of the fetus. The federal appeals court for the Seventh Circuit found the law to be unconstitutional, and Indiana sought review of that decision by the Supreme Court. Because the Supreme Court has denied Indiana’s petition, the appeals court’s decision stands, and the law remains unconstitutional. In its opinion, the Supreme Court explained that it was not ruling on the constitutionality of these types of abortion bans and was denying the petition because no other federal appeals court other than the Seventh Circuit has considered this issue.  

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement in response: 
“We agree with the Seventh Circuit’s decision that Indiana’s law banning pre-viability abortions on the basis of sex, race, or disability of the fetus is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court correctly denied Indiana’s petition for review. However, we are deeply concerned by statements made by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in his concurring opinion in support of sex-selective abortion bans. Thomas points to data on “widespread sex-selective abortions” in Asia and asserts that “recent evidence suggests that sex-selective abortions of girls are common among certain populations in the United States as well,” referring to Chinese American and Indian American families. 

“Thomas’ statements promote dangerous, false stereotypes about AAPI women, perpetuating ludicrous claims that these bans are necessary to prevent AAPI pregnant people, particularly Asian immigrants, who they claim have “backwards” cultural values preferring male babies, from having sex-selective abortions. In truth, a study completed in 2014 found that Asian Americans are actually giving birth to more girls on average than their white American counterparts.

“Using overt racism and xenophobia, these bans send the dangerous message that AAPIs cannot be trusted to make our own reproductive decisions. Sex-selective abortion bans, which threaten providers with criminal and civil penalties, could lead to racial profiling and further decrease the availability of services for AAPI women who already face excessive barriers accessing healthcare. Indiana’s ban was deeply concerning to our communities because the only two women who have ever been criminally prosecuted by the state for their pregnancy outcomes have been AAPI.

“Make no mistake: these bans do not prevent sex discrimination, and instead do the exact opposite, hindering the ability of AAPIs to make crucial decisions about our own health and well-being. Anti-abortion legislators cannot hide behind the mantle of “saving” women of color to advance racist, sexist legislation that impedes the rights of all women.  We refuse to allow our communities to be scapegoated by Justice Clarence Thomas and others who try to trample our agency and dignity. AAPI women will continue to resist and powerfully oppose these bans.”


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 collective power so that all AAPI women and girls can have full agency over our lives, our families, and our communities.