The Big Secret Vietnamese Americans Don’t Want Us to Talk About
Jokes are often made on social media about how you’ll never see an Asian woman on the Maury Povich show, waiting for a DNA test while arguing with 2 men about the father of her baby. Our community prides ourselves in not being a part of trash pop-culture. In the same vein, we also stay quiet when it comes to taboo topics such as abortion. Why are we so quiet about the new Abortion Law in Alabama that was signed on May 15, 2019 by Gov. Kay Ivey, making it the most restrictive abortion bill in the country.
Few studies report abortion data on Asian American Pacific Islander women. While the CDC publishes annual surveil-lance data on abortion, the reported race/ethnic-ity data are limited to White, Black, Hispanic and Other, with AAPIs grouped under the “Other” category. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum shares that of the 16 percent of women seeking abortions who were foreign born, 23 percent were Asian or South Asian.
Abortion was legalized in Vietnam in the 1960s. It is one of the most liberal countries with respect to abortion laws and policies; the country even offers free abortions to married women. Vietnam continues to have one of the highest rates of abortion surveyed in the world. Yet why do we not hear about this?
Culturally, Abortion is a taboo topic. It is a shame that women must bear. Should people know about her abortion, her reputation and ability to have future marriages and relationships may be compromised. After having this mark on her, she will not be the only one ashamed, her family will be humiliated as well.
“Asian-American groups are speaking out against a new Arkansas law that prohibits doctors and other providers from performing an abortion that is sought out based on the predicted sex of the fetus.” Though the myth that Asian American Pacific Islander families prefer sons over daughters and will seek abortions has been debunked, politicians continue to use these stereotypes to advance their political agenda.
How will this affect the Asian Pacific American community? The new law carries penalties for those caught violating it. Doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion in the state; there will be no exceptions even for cases of incest or rape.
As Vietnamese Americans we should not stay quiet about this topic and pretend these laws only affect other communities and not ours.
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Trami Nguyen Cron
Founder, Chief Editor
Trami is the founder of Chopsticks Alley and author of VietnamEazy, a novel about Mothers, Daughters and Food. She is passionate about the emergence of the Young Vietnamese culture in America. As a Vietnamese-American, she created Chopsticks Alley as a platform for the younger Vietnamese generation to have a space to express their point of views about news, business, art, food, and culture. She hopes this platform will also help to unite the Vietnamese Community all over the world.