January 22, 2013

WASHINGTON—The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) marked the 40th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision today by commemorating the significance of the case for women and their families, while acknowledging the continuing barriers that women face in accessing the reproductive health care services they need.

“Abortion care and coverage is essential health care for women,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF president and CEO. “And yet, despite 40 years of legal protection, abortion continues to come under jeopardy, is stigmatized and unnecessarily restricted, putting the health of women and their families at risk.”

Women, and especially women of color, continue to experience a number of challenges to accessing safe and affordable health services, including abortion.

Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander women, many of whom are immigrants, already face barriers to accessing high quality, and culturally- and linguistically-appropriate health care. Asian American and Pacific Islander women have disproportionately high rates of unintended pregnancies and abortion.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) takes the important step of including protections for women from discrimination in the health setting as well as establishing near-universal coverage for the full range of contraceptives. Opponents, however, continue to attack these important provisions in Congress and the courts. At the state level, lawmakers have brought forth a number of challenges to women’s health, from attacking the ACA to erecting new barriers.

“Restricting abortion and reproductive health care makes it harder for women to access the care they need in a timely manner, potentially furthering health disparities,” said Ko Chin.

APIAHF is committed to advancing the health and well-being of all Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in the United States, its territories and jurisdictions, and believes that all communities should have access to quality, affordable care that meets their needs. APIAHF will continue to urge lawmakers to focus their efforts on working with advocates to expand coverage for the full range of reproductive health services, rather than creating new barriers.