In fact, 74% of Asian American respondents support access to abortion, the highest rate of any racial group in the country. However, the full picture of how AAPI communities perceive abortion is more complex: the disaggregation of survey data from Asian Americans reveals striking ethnic differences in attitudes toward abortion across communities. For example, one study in 2018 found that only 22% of Japanese Americans oppose the availability of legal abortion, compared to 69% of Vietnamese Americans, and this difference may reflect ethnic nuances of political affiliation and religion. At least supporters of abortion will not succeed with the same messaging for both groups.
Although AAPI communities differ in their treatment of abortion, people with almost all ethnic backgrounds in AAPI rely on the availability of abortion as part of reproductive health care. The Guttmacher Institute found that 6% of patients seeking abortion care nationwide are Asian Americans, which is proportional to 5.9% of the total Asian American population. 20% of abortion patients born outside the United States are Asian Americans. Although the number of abortions decreased in patients of almost all racial groups in the 1990s, they remained stable among people with AAPI. By ethnicity, research shows that many Asian Americans, including Chinese, Korean, and Thai, enjoy relatively strong abortion care among ethnic groups. A report published by the NAPAWF shows that nearly one-third of pregnancies in the Asian American community end in abortion due to relatively low levels of hormonal contraceptive use. In addition, the disaggregated data also show that adolescent pregnancy rates vary widely across AAPI communities.
Reproductive rights defenders are also often ignored by Asian Americans, as they are believed to live in liberal states such as California, which is currently exploring ways to become an abortion shelter if Roe is overturned. Lee points out, however, that this total treatment fails to address the millions of Asian Americans living in the south, including Texas, which has the third largest Asian American population in the country and has undergone one of the most draconian abortions. prohibitions by any country. Yes Roe pregnant women in Texas, including many Asian Americans, will have to travel an additional 525 miles across national borders to access an abortion. In Georgia, where the Asian American population has grown by more than 138% since 2000, pregnant women will have to travel more than 200 miles to have a legal abortion.
“Even with a legal right to abortion, there are so many barriers to abortion on the way to AAPI,” Lee said. “With Dobss decision [that is expected to end legal abortion]the court threatens to pull the carpet out of our bottom.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Face Unique Reproductive Challenges
People with AAPI already face significant linguistic and economic barriers to accessing abortion, such as the 1976 Haida Amendment, which prevents federal programs such as Medicaid from covering abortion care for low-income patients. The NAPAWF argues that many anti-abortion efforts are based on anti-Asian rhetoric to justify national abortion bans, a strategy that also stigmatizes Asian American patients seeking abortion. These fears are not unfounded: the current abortion bans have already led to the criminalization of pregnant women, which has disproportionately affected women of color, especially black women. In Indiana, the state first enacted fetal homicide laws against Asian and American women: in 2011, Bei Bei Shuai became the first pregnant woman charged with murder in India after an unsuccessful suicide attempt that resulted in a miscarriage, and in 2015, Purvi Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison. in prison for self-abortion, although the conviction was eventually lifted on appeal.
“Asian women are highlighted when it comes to criminal reproduction because there are ugly stereotypes that we don’t care about lives,” writes Mirjam Yeung, a former NAPAWF executive director. The Washington Post.
Access to and care for abortion is particularly difficult for Pacific Islanders in the three U.S. Pacific territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa, even Roe v. Type. For example, although abortion is not illegal in Guam, the local legislature followed a similar guide to countries that have adopted policies that restrict access to abortion as much as possible. In addition, the only provider of surgical abortion services on the island retired in 2018 and has not yet been replaced. The 2021 ruling removed barriers to pregnant women seeking abortion through teleshopping, but those in need of direct physical care have no choice but to travel. Residents of the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa face similar obstacles. Hawaii is often the closest US-based destination, but flights take at least eight hours and travelers still incur significant costs.
Lee says the shooting Roe will only exacerbate these existing barriers to access to abortion for people with AAPI. These challenges vary according to ethnic and geographical differences within AAPI communities, but their impact is difficult to predict due to a lack of disaggregated data. Although some studies on abortion attitudes and access include Asians, these data aggregate all AAPI people into one monolithic group or include them in the ‘Other’ category. Disaggregated data on structural barriers to access to abortion are virtually non-existent, but Lee says other studies on AAPI in people that include disaggregated data may reveal key socio-economic differences between AAPI ethnic groups, which can then be used to conclude that some abortion bans are disproportionate. will be affected. .
“These data may tell us that those without health insurance are unlikely to have access to abortion care,” says Lee. “They earn significantly less [in annual income] than others; we can say that their chances of paying for abortion will also be lower.
For example, Lee notes that women in AAPI are over-represented in the service and low-wage sectors, which often have less access to leave, lower pay and a lack of health insurance. This is especially true for some ethnic groups, such as Vietnamese Americans, who represent the second largest Asian American ethnic group in Texas, 26% of whom work in the service sector. In the Harris area of Texas, 34% of Vietnamese Americans have a household income below $ 25,000 a year, which is below the poverty line for a family of four, compared with 24% of Chinese and Taiwanese, 20% of Indian and Pakistani Americans, and 12% of Filipino Americans. Similarly, disaggregated data reveal sharp differences in health insurance coverage: in 2010, thirty-four percent of Vietnamese Americans living in the Harris area did not have health insurance, compared with 20% of Chinese Americans and 13% of Native Americans. Indigenous Hawaiians face significant barriers to accessing comprehensive health care, including a lack of health professionals and institutions, and are at greater risk of experiencing poverty, unemployment, housing and other socio-economic challenges.
In addition, AAPI communities can also face barriers stemming from limited English language skills and immigration status. While Roe v. Type does not solve any of these problems, its removal will undoubtedly worsen them.
Reproductive justice is a problem for AAPI
For years, the NAPAWF has made improving the reproductive rights of human beings a key concern of the AAPI. Lee says the NAPAWF has often served as a bridge between the AAPI’s defense premises and the gender and reproductive justice premises, where stakeholders in the Asian and Pacific islands are seen as monolithic or made invisible.
“Given the many years we have been advocating for reproductive health and justice on AAPI premises, we can really put pressure on how our communities and organizations talk about and support abortion at the local, national and national levels,” Lee said.
NAPAWF plans to redouble its efforts in the forthcoming struggle to restore access to abortion following possible repression. Roe. Meanwhile, the organization is co – mobilizing in its departments and across the country to oppose Roe v. Type heard.
AAPI’s partnerships with other reproductive rights organizations, including many based on other color communities, are essential to identifying and protecting reproductive rights at the national level. For example, the New York branch of the NAPAWF recently partnered with the National Institute of Reproductive Justice in Latin America to push for a Reproductive Freedom and Equality Act that would allow pregnant New Yorkers to have an abortion regardless of their health insurance status. The NAPAWF has also produced solidarity statements on reproductive justice, which they plan to encourage other AAPI advocacy groups to sign, which they believe will help show strong community support for abortion in AAPI communities.
But what defenders are saying is the most important thing is to ensure that the marginalized voices of AAPI are heard in the forthcoming fight for reproductive justice. The AAPI communities represent significant voting blocs: Asian Americans are the fastest growing electorate in the United States and played a key role in the 2020 presidential elections in Joe Biden, especially in the changing states. Targeted, community-based messaging and information is essential to mobilize AAPI people in the fight for reproductive justice.
NAPAWF plans to launch surveys that will include telephone banking and foster care in several Asian languages to obtain disaggregated data on AAPI attitudes toward abortion in southern states such as Georgia and Florida. In Texas, the NAPAWF has published abortion access guides. And in all three of these states, the NAPAWF will work to mobilize voters to address reproductive rights in the next election.
“There’s so much at stake right now that if people weren’t involved yet, it’s important that they get involved now,” Lee said.
It is particularly important that AAPI advocacy groups actively and openly demonstrate their support for access to abortion and do not become discouraged in the face of anti-abortion efforts. By building movements, power, and coalitions, AAPI communities can move the needle forward, ensuring not only access to abortion but also all reproductive rights and justice.
“While things are really terrible, at the same time we can’t despair,” Lee said. “We need to see and find hope and continue to build power and fight to defend and expand access to abortion.”
Jenny is a proud Asian American feminist, scientist, and nedra who currently blogs at Reappropriate.co, one of the world’s oldest blogs for AAPI feminists and racial activists. Follow her on Twitter @Reappropriate.
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