Since 2011, far-right politicians have been deceptively and stealthily passing abortion bans on the backs of Asian American women. Such laws were the second most-proposed abortion ban in 2013. They have been proposed in 21 states and are the law in 8 states, and the ban was recently introduced in California.These politicians are saying that Asians Americans do not value girl children and that, because of us, the country needs to pass “sex-selective abortion bans.” This is a strategic ruse; they do not care about women’s equality. In fact, these are the same politicians who vote time and time again against things like equal pay and anti-domestic violence laws. The bans are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
In addition to attacking women’s health, these bans promote negative racial stereotypes. Worse, Asian American women may be turned away at their doctor’s office because doctors are afraid to provide abortion care to us, lest they be sent to jail.
On September 9, President of the Board of Supervisors David Chiu introduced a resolution condemning these abortion bans. At a press conference on Sept. 9, 2014, Board President Chiu announced that Supervisors Breed, Cohen, Kim and Tang are co-sponsoring the measure. It states:
Opposing “Sex-Selective Abortion Bans”
Resolution affirming San Francisco’s opposition to “Sex-Selective Abortion Bans” that perpetuate racial stereotypes.
WHEREAS, In 2014, sex-selective abortion bans have become the second-most proposed abortion ban in the United States, introduced in 21 states and passed in 8 states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Arizona, and South Dakota.
WHEREAS, A sex-selective abortion ban prohibits abortions performed on the basis of sex; doctors who perform such a procedure could face jail time, fines or lawsuits from a patient or her spouse, parent, sibling or guardian; a doctor or nurse who suspects a patient is seeking a sex-selective abortion is required to report her to authorities;
WHEREAS, Lawmakers across the country have successfully advocated for sex-selective abortion bans by perpetuating false and harmful racial stereotypes that such laws are necessary to stop an influx of Asian immigrants from spreading this practice and that Asian American communities do not value the lives of women;
WHEREAS, Sex-selective abortion bans encourage racial profiling of women by some medical providers, can lead to the denial of reproductive health care services to women by some medical providers, and lead to further stigmatization of women, particularly Asian American women;
WHEREAS, In 2012, a sex-selective abortion ban was proposed in the U.S. Congress, benignly named the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, and in February 2014, a similar measure was proposed by California State Assembly, AB 2336 by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove;
WHEREAS, Some versions of sex-selective abortion bans have also included a race-selective ban, that would ban abortions performed on the basis of race and are based on suggestions that African American women are not capable of responsible reproductive health decisions and that abortion providers have a racist agenda;
WHEREAS, The State of Arizona is currently facing a lawsuit brought against its race-and sex-selective ban by the American Civil Liberties Union, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, for being unconstitutionally discriminatory against African American and Asian American women;
WHEREAS, A coalition of Asian American and reproductive rights, health and justice organizations has formed to educate the public about the stereotyping inherent in sex-selective abortion bans, to condemn the rhetoric of ban advocates as deeply offensive, and to organize to defeat such discriminatory policies;
WHEREAS, No city or state in the country has yet taken a position to publicly oppose sex-selective abortion bans; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors urges the California State Legislature to reject any future attempts to pass a state sex-selective abortion ban; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, The San Francisco Board of Supervisors calls upon other cities, states and the federal government to likewise reject these discriminatory measures.