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Airline Forced Female Flier to Take Pregnancy Test

Hong Kong airline said it was fighting 'birth tourism'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2020 8:00 AM CST
Passengers wait at the check-in counter of Hong Kong Express Airways at the Hong Kong International Airport.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
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(Newser) – A budget airline in Hong Kong has apologized "unreservedly" for forcing a 25-year-old passenger to take a pregnancy test. Hong Kong Express Airways told Midori Nishida before a flight from Hong Kong to Saipan in November that she had been randomly selected for a "fit to fly" assessment that included a pregnancy test and she would not be allowed to fly if she refused, the BBC reports. Nishida, who was not pregnant, grew up on Saipan and was returning to visit her parents. The island is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory, and the airline says it introduced the tests for selected female passengers in February 2019 to combat "birth tourism" and to "help ensure US immigration laws were not being undermined." It says it has now suspended the practice.

Nishida was escorted to a bathroom by an airline employee and given a strip to urinate on. She was allowed to board her flight after it came back negative. Nishida tells the Washington Post that the experience was "discriminatory" and "very offensive." She wrote about the incident in the Saipan Tribune in November but says she did not receive an apology from the airline until the Wall Street Journal reported it on it. "They just told me that they were doing this as a response to immigration concerns to the US and that they have decided to discontinue the policy after reviewing it," she says. (Read more airlines stories.)

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