Ben Johnson


Immigrant threatened to kill woman who refused to have an abortion, prosecutor says

Ben Johnson

HOLMEN, WI, March 7, 2013, ( – Prosecutors in Wisconsin have accused a 46-year-old Hmong man of stalking and threatening to kill a woman if she did not have an abortion.

True Xiong regularly telephoned the woman, stalked her, confronted her in person, and threatened her well-being if she did not terminate the child she was carrying, according to charges filed at the La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Anne Jungen of the La Crosse Tribune reports that the woman, who is not his wife, alleges that he “tampered with her car and rotated her bed, an action in Hmong culture meant to bring bad luck to the woman and her child.”

Xiong remained imprisoned on Monday, when charges were filed with the La Crosse County Circuit Court.

The allegation of abortion coercion is a familiar one, with expectant mothers frequently facing pressure from boyfriends, husbands, family members, or co-workers to have an abortion.

Xiong is part of the state's significant Hmong population, whose culture embraces large families and eschews abortion in most cases.

Hmong people believe abortion “upsets the cosmological balance of the society,” according to Pranee Liamputtong, a professor of public health at La Trobe University in Australia. According to a 2003 study, in Hmong culture “only women who are older and have had many children to ensure the continuity of the lineage have a right to abortion. Younger women do not have this right.”

Due in part to these beliefs and in part to heavy immigration, Wisconsin's Hmong population has skyrocketed.

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According to Census data, the number of Hmong statewide in 2010 was 49,240 – up from 33,791 in 2000 and 16,373 in 1990. Since 2000, they have been the state's fastest growing ethnicity other than Latinos.

The Hmong people, who originate in the mountains of Southeast Asia, have steadily migrated to the United States since the end of the Vietnam Conflict, when they allied with U.S. soldiers.

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