February 4, 2019
PIVOT recognizes that abortion at the later stages of pregnancy is one of the most divisive issues in American politics generally and in the Vietnamese American community specifically. Even though third-trimester abortions are rare and performed primarily to protect the mother’s health, it is also when the balancing of the mother’s life and the sanctity of another life is at its most difficult. For these reasons, PIVOT believes that we must engage in this difficult conversation in a constructive way, not simply to score political points or to carry out personal attacks.
Delegate Kathy Tran recently introduced a bill in Virginia’s House of Delegates that would remove certain barriers to a woman’s access to abortion in the later stages of pregnancy. Current Virginia law allows women access to abortion during the later stages of pregnancy under limited circumstances to protect the mother’s health, as long as three doctors certify that her health is at grave risk. The bill proposes to change the law to allow a woman to make this choice to protect her health if one doctor certifies that she is in danger of physical or mental harm. Reducing logistical barriers ensures timely access to safe healthcare for patients.
Because of a video snippet posted online of her response to a specific question, Delegate Tran is now facing physical and death threats against her and her family. PIVOT, which includes Vietnamese Americans from all walks of life and religions, understands that there are differing viewpoints within our community on this controversy. We express our support of Delegate Tran because we believe in women’s rights and women’s health, and we do not support bullying and other forms of intimidation. We also believe that a diversity of opinions and beliefs is integral to a democracy, and that litmus tests are not. Delegate Tran has been a champion for many progressive Vietnamese American causes, including fighting against deportation, for immigrant rights, and Medicaid expansion. We will continue to support her, and we hope to continue to engage respectfully with those in our community with different points of view.