How Abortion Rights Impacts Immigrants
by Mrinal Gokhale, author of "Saaya Unveiled: South Asian Mental Health Spotlighted"
Here at Daya, we are fierce advocates for bodily autonomy. We focus on empowering survivors of domestic violence, and that means ending reproductive coercion between partners. Studies show that about 25 percent of domestic abuse survivors experienced reproductive coercion. Examples include preventing a partner from using birth control prescriptions and forced abortions and births. Though anyone can experience reproductive coercion, females, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and disabled individuals experience higher occurrence. Among South Asians, in-laws and other relatives may participate in this form of control. We will share the story of one client that experienced this type of control from her husband.
Meet Pushpa- a 30 something Indian female who immigrated to the United States as an adult. At some point she moved to Texas under her husband’s insistence, where she has no friends or family. When her first baby was born, her husband physically beat her. Before that, he, along with his family members confined her to a room throughout her pregnancy.
Shortly after the birth, Pushpa became pregnant again- through non-consensual sex with her husband. Feeling oppressed and hopeless, Pushpa hit a rock bottom. She knew in her heart that for a way out, a second baby cannot be in her future. Giving little information to her husband, Pushpa mustered the little money she had to walk to an abortion clinic to end her pregnancy.
Pushpa told her tragic story in Huff Post—right after a six week abortion restriction became effective in Texas. Her story is not uncommon. Immigrant women belong to one marginalized population that considers abortion a healthcare right.
This year, an NBC News article stated that low-income Asian women in the United States have reduced abortion access. However, Asian women born in the U.S. get abortions at 1.5 times higher the rate of their immigrant counterparts. Low income and language barriers are common contributors to this difference.
Daya is an apolitical organization that strives to empower domestic violence survivors, as well as their families. We believe the choice to continue a pregnancy or get a safe and confidential abortion should be centered in the survivor’s best interest—both health wise and for wellbeing. Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, survivors are no longer constitutionally guaranteed a non-judgmental, supportive place to make the choice for themselves. Daya stands in solidarity with our community, survivors of all backgrounds, and our partners nationwide to use our voices to evoke positive change for survivors, recenter the critical need for reproductive rights, and recommit to our fight for gender justice.
Download our reproductive choices toolkit to understand your rights.