For Immediate Release: May 6, 2024
Contact: Virginia Lucy,

Washington, DC – Critical updates on anti-discrimination provisions made by the Biden Administration to Section 1557, designed to protect underserved communities from health care discrimination in the Affordable Care Act, are a good first step towards advancing health equity, says the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). 

“NAPAWF advocates for issues that impact AANHPI women and girls, many of whom are immigrants working low wage jobs, who have limited English proficiency, and are the primary caregivers in their multigenerational families,” said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director. “The rule changes address intersectional discrimination and will provide additional protections to help these women, along with immigrants across the country, access high-quality and readily available in-language resources and services when they seek health care.” 

The Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community is diverse and is made up of more than 50 ethnic groups, speaking over 100 different languages. Data from the Census found that nearly 50 percent of foreign born AAPI women have limited English proficiency (LEP), which makes interactions with medical providers difficult and exacerbates health disparities

“There is much to celebrate in these regulations regarding intersectional discrimination – from strengthened provisions against racial discrimination, protections for LGBTQ+ people, robust provisions for individuals with limited English proficiency and ensuring access for people with disabilities. Regarding reproductive justice, we hope that future implementation of the rule will solidify sex discrimination protections for women in the basis of pregnancy and related conditions, including abortion,” continued Choimorrow. “We believe that everyone deserves access to all options for ending or preventing pregnancy while being treated with dignity, and NAPAWF will continue to fight to ensure that our communities understand their rights and what to do when they are violated.” 

AANHPI and immigrant women face significant barriers to accessing health care coverage and reproductive care services due to systemic and language barriers, which have been exacerbated since the fall of Roe v. Wade

The rule comes from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR), regarding Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities. NAPAWF previously submitted a letter to HHS on the proposed rule and collected comments from individual community members. 

NAPAWF will continue to work with the Biden-Harris Administration and partners to ensure that discrimination has no place in health care, that our communities understand covered entities’ duties and obligations, and that civil rights authorities have the resources they need to robustly enforce the new rule. 

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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.