May 5, 2017

WASHINGTON – In reaction to the President’s executive order on religious liberty, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) released the following statement.

“By permitting employers to discriminate against employees seeking access to essential care, the order only adds to the barriers that Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders already experience when trying to access affordable, quality health care that meets their needs,” said Kathy Ko Chin, APIAHF President and CEO.

This order builds off of the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby that allows closely held corporations to refuse to cover contraceptives for their employees if they personally do not believe in contraceptives. It dictates that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) consider issuing amended regulations regarding the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate. Eliminating the contraceptive coverage requirement would impact over 55 million women who currently have access to no cost birth control as a preventive service.

The order also instructs the Attorney General to issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in federal law. The impact of this provision is unclear, but could be far reaching.

Yesterday’s executive order is counter to health equity and the belief that all people deserve access to comprehensive reproductive health care. Every person, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, or where they come from, and where they live, should be able to access health care free from discrimination. For more than 30 years, APIAHF has worked to advance the health and well-being of all families, all communities, and all people – and we will continue to do so.