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Ford Foundation, and Lora Jo Foo. “Sexual and Reproductive Freedom for Asian American Women.” In Asian American Women: Issues, Concerns, and Responsive Human and Civil Rights Advocacy, 115–26. iUniverse, Inc., 2003.


This chapter discusses the various cultural obstacles Asian American women face in achieving sexual and reproductive freedom. In many Asian American communities, “sex is as much a taboo topic, if not more so, [than] in the general American population” (2). This taboo around sex has led to a silence towards issues regarding women’s sexuality. It is only until recently that is silence has begun to be broken. Certain governmental policies have attempted to control Asian women’s sexuality both in the US and in their countries of origin, as in the Chinese one-child policy. These laws coupled with cultural preferences to bear male heirs have led to high abortion rates for female fetuses. There is also a lack of culturally competent resources that accommodate for specific cultural practices, like squat birthing. It highlights the varying pregnancy rates for different Asian American communities and the need to break-down these statistics. The chapter also addresses other issues such as young motherhood and environmental toxins.   Throughout the chapter, there are various broader questions that are posed regarding certain types of birth control or expectations of Asian American women and the implications these have on their reproductive freedom and ability to choose. It ends with “Recommendations for Action,” to end these policies and practices that lead to Asian American women’s reproductive oppression, like sex selection and cultural incompetence.


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Contraception/birth control   Race/ethnicity: Asian American/Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander