Why South Asian Americans Overwhelmingly Support Abortion

Despite not openly talking about it, many South Asians are pro-choice. We dig into why and their reactions to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Kavya Srikanth

July 1, 2022

Why South Asian Americans Overwhelmingly Support Abortion
PHILADELPHIA, JUNE 24: Demonstrators gather outside of City Hall to protest the Supreme Court's verdict to overturn Roe vs Wade. Protester is holding up a sign for Savita Halappanavar, who died in Ireland due to not being able to access an abortion. (Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In July 2013, police arrested Purvi Patel, 33, at a Mishawaka, Indiana hospital. She had arrived at the emergency room bleeding profusely, and though she initially denied being pregnant, she later disclosed that she had miscarried. Believing the fetus to be stillborn and unsure of what to do, Patel told medical staff that she had placed the remains in a dumpster. When police searched Patel’s phone, they found texts indicating that she had ordered abortion-inducing pills from Hong Kong without a prescription. Less than two years later, on March 30, 2015, Patel became the first person in U.S. history to be convicted of feticide, defined as “an act that causes the death of a fetus,” and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Though officials ended up releasing her in 2016 after reducing her sentence, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade — which ended the federal right to an abortion, letting individual states choose for themselves — Patel’s story has resurfaced.

As people across the world reacted this past week to the historic judicial decision, we spoke to South Asian Americans — a group likely to support abortion and undergo it — to understand how the ruling affects the community and their reactions.