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In May of this year, Miriam Yeung, the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, joined with other groups to file a legal challenge against an Arizona law banning race- and sex-selective abortions. But it wasn’t the first time she’d heard about a law like this. Five years earlier, Republicans were pushing a near-identical bill — and they thought Yeung might just be its biggest fan.

It was 2008 when Yeung, who has worked at the intersection of the gender justice and racial justice movements for decades, received an unexpected phone call from Arizona Republican Trent Franks. “We’re dropping a bill you’re going to care about,” Franks told her, “because we saw on your website that you care about son preference.” Back then, Yeung didn’t yet know who Franks was, only that he was trying to sell himself as her new political best friend. Soon after their call, Franks sent Yeung the draft proposal for the bill he claimed was all about promoting gender and racial equality.

“And that,” Yeung told Salon with a sad laugh,...