For Immediate Release: June 24, 2022
WASHINGTON D.C. – The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) unequivocally condemns the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women Health Organization. Today’s final ruling overturns nearly 50 years of legal precedent on federally protected access to abortion.
“This is a direct and pernicious assault on people of color, including Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities where the path to abortion care is riddled with language barriers, cultural stigmas, and low rates of insurance coverage among our most vulnerable community members,” says Isra Pananon Weeks, interim executive director and chief of staff of National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). “The cultural, economic, and logistical barriers for AAPI community members, especially those working for low-wages in frontline, service jobs, make traveling and getting an abortion often difficult if not impossible.”
AAPI women are overrepresented in the frontline and service industry, often working without health insurance and paid medical or family leave. Sixty-six percent of Asian Americans and thirty percent of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders also speak a primary language other than English at home which creates difficulties in accessing health care due to overwhelming language barriers. In addition, nearly two-thirds of Asian Americans and one-fifth of Pacific Islanders are foreign-born.
“As the country’s fastest growing racial and ethnic group, a third of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders now live in one of the 26 states where abortion access has vanished. Gutting Roe cuts off access to abortion care and puts the well-being and financial stability for millions of AAPI women and families at tremendous risk,” says Weeks. The AAPI population, for instance, in Georgia and Texas has grown 138% and 128%, respectively since 2000. Both states are now primed to ban abortion following today’s Supreme Court ruling.
“Today’s devastating reversal is not only about reproductive rights, but protections for the LGBTQ community, voting rights, and marriage equality. With legislators across the US repealing early voting and mail-in ballot expansions, and the Supreme Court refusing to protect the Voting Rights Act, AAPI interests, including the right to an abortion, are being sidelined,” says Weeks.
“After two years of increasing anti-Asian hate, NAPAWF is no stranger to legislators overlooking our concerns or witnessing attacks on our health and safety. We will not back down. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, other communities of color, and a majority of all voters support legalizing abortion. It is time for elected officials to act on our interests.”
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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.