Updated December 17, 2015

YES#racismhurtsOn December 9th, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will be arguing a case at the 9th Circuit Appeals Court in San Francisco on behalf of NAPAWF and the Maricopa County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

This case started when we sued the State of Arizona for their racist anti-abortion law. The result? The courts came back basically saying, “Yeah, but does stigma and racism hurt?”

On December 16th, we found out that the appeals court once again dismissed our claim, essentially telling us that stigma is not enough legal harm. Or in other words racism doesn’t hurt. Watch this video message from Miriam in response:

We will not stop fighting. If we can’t win this in the courts, we are going to win this in the streets.

So please continue to help us lift up the message loud and clear that YES, racism hurts and stigma hurts.

Learn more about this case below:

» Video Recording of Oral arguments to the 9th Circuit Appeals Court in San Francisco on December 9th.



» Amici Briefs filed in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

» Resources:


» Press Release and Statements:

  • December 9, 2015, “National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum argues before 9th Cir. Court of Appeals in lawsuit against Arizona race- and sex- selective abortion bans”
  • December 15, 2015, “National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum denounces 9th Cir. Court of Appeals decision on race- and sex- selective abortion ban challenge”

» Articles and Media Hits:

  • December 4, 2015, Miriam Yeung | “Courts Must Decide What We Already Know: Racism and Stigma Cause Harm
  • December 8, 2015, AsAmNews“Asian American Group to Challenge Arizona’s Sex Selection Abortion Ban”
  • December 9, 2015, RH Reality Check, “Court Challenge Continues Against Arizona GOP’s Race-Based Abortion Ban”
  • December 10, 2015, AZ Central, “Montini: That way Arizona lawmakers disrespect black and Asian women”
  • December 9, 2015, AZ Central, “Arizona law banning abortion based on race, sex goes before court”
  • December 9, 2015, Huffington Post, “The NAACP Is Suing Arizona Over ‘Racist’ Anti-Abortion Law”
  • December 9, 2015, Think Progress, “Supposedly ‘Anti-Racist’ Law Relies On Stereotypes And Lies To Ban Abortion”
  • December 9, 2015, Yuma Sun, “Attorney: Abortion restriction unconstitutional”
  • December 10, 2015, Phoenix New Times, “ACLU Challenges ‘Racist and Sexist’ Arizona Abortion Law”
  • December 10, 2015, Red Lake National News, “ACLU Challenges Arizona Abortion Law that Discriminates Against Black and Asian American Women”
  • December 10, 2015, eNews Park Forest, “ACLU Challenges Arizona Abortion Law that Discriminates Against Black and Asian American Women”
  • December 10, 2015, Tuscon Weekly, “ACLU to Federal Court: AZ Law Banning ‘Race & Sex Selection’ Abortions Stigmatizes Women of Color”
  • December 15, 2015, Live5News, “Court rejects suit against Arizona race, sex abortion ban”
  • December 15, 2015, Washington Times“Arizona abortion ‘sex-selection’ lawsuit dismissed”
  • December 15, 2015, 91.5 KJZZ, “Court Rejects Challenge to Arizona’s Race, Sex Abortion Ban”
  • December 15, 2015, Washington Examiner, “Court dismisses challenge to ban on abortions based on race, sex”
  • December 15, 2015, The Arizona Republic“Court rejects suit against Arizona race, sex abortion ban”
  • December 16, 2015, Phoenix New Times“Judge Throws Out ACLU’s Challenge to Arizona’s ‘Racist and Sexist’ Abortion Law”
  • December 16, 2015, Reappropriate, “Appeals Court Dismisses NAACP & NAPAWF Lawsuit Challenging Arizona’s Racist Anti-Abortion Ban”
  • December 16, 2015, 550 KFYI“Appeals Court Upholds AZ Abortion Law”
  • December 16, 2015, Sierra Vista Herald“Court rejects suit against Arizona race, sex abortion law”
  • December 16, 2015, Arizona Daily Star“Court rejects attempt to overturn abortion law”
  • December 16, 2015, RH Reality Check, “Court Rejects Challenge to Arizona GOP’s Race- and Sex-Selective Abortion Ban”
  • December 17, 2015, Ms. Magazine, “Activists Challenge Arizona Sex and Race-Selective Abortion Law”
  • December 17, 2015, Northwest Asian Weekly, “AZ abortion law affects Asian Americans”
  • December 17, 2015, eNews Park Forest, “Court Dismisses Challenge to Racist Arizona Abortion Ban”

In 2011, Arizona passed the nation’s first racially discriminatory abortion ban. The law, passed by far-right politicians, exploits negative stereotypes about women of color to support an anti-choice agenda. It bans abortions based on race or gender preference, and purports to be in furtherance of women’s and civil rights. In reality, it is an underhanded tactic the far-right is using to undermine women’s health. By appropriating the language of equality, these politicians hoped to deceive social justice advocates and gain broad support for an anti-choice measure.

NAPAWF Arizona meme V 4 Draft 1But we were not deceived. Arizona’s law is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and we know it.

Since Arizona passed its law, numerous states have followed in its footsteps. Today, state and federal lawmakers from across the country are trying to subject more and more women to this insulting attack on reproductive health.

NAPAWF has been fighting against these abortion bans for years, in the states and at the federal level. When this ban was being debated in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, NAPAWF Executive Director Miriam Yeung was the sole witness testifying against it, and for women of color.

On May 29, 2013, the ACLU filed suit on behalf of NAPAWF and the NAACP to overturn Arizona’s racially discriminatory abortion ban. This is the first suit of its kind. We hope our legal challenge will expose this law for what it really is and help put an end to these bans, once and for all.

Below, you will find related media and resources on this issue.

For press inquiries, contact Erin White at


RH Reality Check Podcast: Arizona’s Race-Baiting Abortion Law (9:52)


Press Conference: ACLU, NAACP, NAPAWF Challenge Arizona Law (12:18)


Salon Sex-selective abortion bans: Just another right-wing ruse

WPTwitterIcon-512x512 Civil rights groups sue Arizona over law banning abortions based on race or sex selection

twitter-logo128 ACLU Takes On Arizona’s Ban on Sex- and Race-Selective Abortions

aclu-logoCivil Rights Groups Challenge Arizona Law Targeting Women of Color

NAPAWF Press Release: Asian women advocates join ACLU, NAACP to challenge AZ abortion restriction

NAPAWF Resource: Race and Sex Selection Abortion Bans