Hong Kong-based airline apologizes for requiring passenger to take pregnancy test before flight

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A Hong Kong airline issued an apology this week after asking a passenger to take a pregnancy test before boarding a plane headed to Saipan, an American territory popular for “birth tourism.”

Hong Kong Express Airways Limited sent an email statement announcing that they will stop administering pregnancy tests after a passenger wrote a blog post about her experience. Despite growing up in Saipan, Midori Nishida was still subject to questioning and pregnancy tests when visiting home. 

The island is a popular destination for expecting Chinese mothers since babies born there are eligible for U.S. citizenship. 

“We would like to apologize unreservedly to anyone who has been affected by this,” the airline said in the statement obtained by The Hill.

“In response to concerns raised by authorities in Saipan, we took actions on flights to Saipan from February 2019 to help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined. Under our new management, we recognize the significant concerns this practice has caused. We have immediately suspended the practice while we review it. We’d like to apologize for the distress caused.”

Nishida, a 25-year-old Tokyo resident, said she was selected to take a random “medical exam,” and upon examining the forms she was given she realized she was chosen because she was “observed to have a body size/shape resembling a pregnant lady.”

“Coming back to Saipan has always been a happy time for me as I look forward to seeing my family and catching up with friends,” she wrote. “But after this incident, I can only think of how I will be suspected, investigated, and humiliated before I can return to a place I consider home.”

Updated: Jan. 18 at 9:15 a.m.

Tags Airline China Hong Kong Japan

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