Washington, D.C. – The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum strongly opposes the “Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (HR 3541)(PRENDA),” which would harm Asian American women by subjecting their choices to scrutiny and threatening their access to medical care. Deceptively masking itself as a civil rights measure, it would subject health care providers to civil and criminal penalties if they provide an abortion sought based on the sex of the fetus. In addition, the bill would require that providers report known or suspected violations of the ban to law enforcement. APIAHF believes the bill will compromise the rights, health and safety of Asian American women.

“PRENDA would have disastrous consequences for both doctors and patients,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “It attempts to intimidate doctors from providing necessary abortion care and would destroy the relationship of trust between patients and their providers.”

PRENDA directly exploits Asian Americans by pretending to be a solution to sex selective abortion and preference for sons. However, the real solution is addressing the root problem of gender inequity, not depriving women of their right to appropriate health care. Examples and expert recommendations from the international context show that elevating the social and economic status of women and girls decreases the incidence of sex selection.

“Rather than improving access to comprehensive and culturally appropriate care, this bill promotes racist stereotypes about Asian American families and diminishes the health, dignity and well-being of women and girls by restricting their access to reproductive health care,” said Priscilla Huang, APIAHF policy director. “Any solution to addressing son preference must begin in our communities and address underlying inequities in education, fair pay, family leave and violence against women.”

APIAHF is committed to promoting and protecting the health of all Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the United States and its jurisdictions and opposes limits on health care access and laws which unfairly discriminate against individuals seeking health care based on their race or ethnicity. Sex selective abortion bans attempt to divide health advocates by pitting women’s rights advocates against communities of color. By demonizing and criminalizing the reproductive decisions of women of color – including immigrant women – these laws put quality, comprehensive and culturally sensitive health care even further out of reach for the communities we serve. Bills such as PRENDA could result in women seeking illegal, unsafe abortions or being forced to carry health-endangering pregnancies to term, worsening health disparities in our communities. The House is expected to vote on the bill on May 30.