December 22, 2020
Contact: Nikki Metzgar
(202) 599-7642 /

Washington, D.C. — Today, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) submitted a “friend of the court” or amicus brief to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case Memphis Center for Reproductive Health v. Herbert Slatery. This case is a challenge to the Tennessee law banning abortion based on a pregnant person’s reason, including making it illegal for a doctor to provide abortion care if they suspect a patient could be seeking an abortion due to preference for the sex of the fetus. The brief is the first of its kind to focus on the topic of sex-selective abortion bans and examines the intersectional barriers Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women face when seeking abortion care. The law firm Cooley LLP provided pro bono representation for this amicus brief filing.

As the amicus brief makes clear, sex-selective abortion bans are based on anti-immigrant sentiments and disproportionately affect AAPI women. Proponents of these bans claim that they are necessary because Asians who migrate to the U.S. bring “backward” values with them. This stereotype about the values of the AAPI community is not only ugly–it is inaccurate and dangerous. As laid out in the brief, these bans block access to reproductive health care for our communities. The full brief is available upon request. 

Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director of NAPAWF released the following statement:

“Asian American and Pacific Islander pregnant people are uniquely targeted by sex-selective abortion bans and the ugly, racist stereotypes behind them. They encourage racial profiling in the context of care and could lead to AAPI patients being singled out for special questioning and even being denied care. 

There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ reasons to have an abortion and politicians should not be interrogating personal decisions about pregnancy. The court should stop Tennessee from enforcing this unconstitutional law and to fail to do so would fly in the face of our fundamental right to make decisions about our lives and our families.”

# # #

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.