ACLU Takes On Arizona’s Ban on Sex- and Race-Selective Abortions

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The American Civil Liberties Union announced on Wednesday that it is filing suit against Arizona’s law that aims to ban abortions based on gender preference or race. The law, passed in March 2011, “treats every black and Asian women as potential threat simply because of her race alone,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, at a press event announcing the lawsuit.

The ACLU’s suit is on behalf of the NAACP and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, who argue that the law is an unconstitutional intrusion into a woman’s right to choose and that it asks doctors to profile based on the race of the woman seeking an abortion. Daniel Pochoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona said the law is “motivated by racist and discriminatory beliefs.” It would encourage discrimination against Asian American women based on cultural assumptions that they might seek to abort a female fetus. Doctors would also be required to racially profile any woman of color seeking an abortion, since she would most definitely be carrying a fetus of color. This pretty much amounts to a thought-crime, forcing medical professionals to somehow determine a woman’s motivation for getting an abortion or potentially end up in jail for 3 and a half years.

The law “perpetuates ugly stereotypes about the Asian American community and contributes to anti-immigrant perceptions,” said Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. And if politicians are actually concerned about sex-selective abortions, Yeung says, this is not the way to deal with them. “We care about gender inequity and we care about women,” said Yeung. “The thing is, if these politicians really wanted to truly address the issue—and sex-selection is really a symptom of gender inequity—there are more effective ways of doing that. This bill is not that.”

At least nine other states and the House of Representatives have considered banning abortions based on sex or race.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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