WASHINGTON D.C. –  The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) applauds the steps that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken to affirm and strengthen civil rights protections for patients as required by Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in certain health programs and activities.

In particular, HHS has proposed to strengthen language access protections for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). NAPAWF has been advocating for accurate, in-language health information, which has become especially vital in the weeks since the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned the constitutional right to abortion.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe is decimating abortion rights, which has the greatest impact on people of color, including Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and especially immigrants. These communities already faced tremendous barriers to reproductive care,” says Isra Pananon Weeks, Interim Executive Director and Chief of Staff of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). “We thank Secretary Becerra for his leadership and are appreciative of the Biden Administration’s efforts to strengthen civil rights protections and ensure that limited English proficient individuals can receive health care information in-language, especially in a time when abortion rights are rapidly shifting state-to-state. This is especially critical for our community where 34 percent of Asian American adults are limited English proficient and 66 percent speak a language other than English at home.”

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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.