Supreme Court Ruling to Uphold Texas’ SB8 Abortion Ban Will Have Devastating Consequences on Asian American Women and Communities
DETROIT, MI — Rising Voices strongly condemns the failure of the Supreme Court to block the implementation of Texas’ SB8 law, the most restrictive abortion ban in the nation. This midnight ruling, made as part of a shadow docket without a full briefing, oral arguments or signed opinion will have a devastating impact on the lives of women and persons who can become pregnant, including those in the Asian American community.
The SB8 ban on abortion rights is a deliberately racialized attack on the rights of women and persons of color, especially those in low-income communities who will bear the catastrophic consequences of this law without means to seek reproductive health services elsewhere. It is social control over poor and working class, queer and trans, disabled Black and Brown and Asian Americans in Texas.
At Rising Voices we recognize that the subject of abortion is a deeply personal issue that involves the complex cultural, religious and societal experiences of every individual. Within Asian American communities, abortion is a nuanced issue with varied perspectives and no monolithic solution of either acceptance or prohibition.
We recognize, however, that no matter what we may feel as individuals or groups the right to end a pregnancy must be made available to all who may need to make that difficult decision, one often made with agony and hardship in circumstances knowable only to those directly involved. Whatever those circumstances might be, the incontrovertible right of bodily autonomy cannot be gainsaid.
The insidious nature of the Texas law is unprecedented. SB8 bans abortion after 6 weeks, which happens before most people know that they are pregnant. It allows for private citizens to sue anyone who helps a person access an abortion in the state, including family, friends, and strangers. The law fosters a chilling system of informants who will be rewarded for their suits, while intimidating others with the threat of legal action and financial punishment.
The vigilante, bounty-hunting nature of this new law will severely curtail access to reproductive health services for Asian American women fearful of penalty. Across the nation, Asian American women are already limited in their access to reproductive health due to language barriers, cultural restrictions, and lack of sex education that would enable them to seek out resources. Asian American women are less likely to use birth control and have some of the highest rates of breast and other preventable cancers. Foreign-born residents fearful of reporting will also avoid reproductive health providers out of fear of punishment and deportation.
We at Rising Voices believe that when women (cis, trans, GNC and femme-identifying) lead, our communities move. The Texas law will have ramifications across the nation, but Rising Voices will continue its work to organize and develop the leadership of Asian American women in Michigan. We will demand universal access to reproductive healthcare and abortion services. We will stand with Black and Brown communities and continue to work for healing, wholeness, and collective liberation. We know that unless and until all people have agency over their bodies in pursuing self-determination, we will not be free.