According to AFP, 25-year-old Midori Nishida, who is not pregnant, was escorted to a public bathroom at Hong Kong International Airport and forced to take a pregnancy test in November before being allowed to board her Hong Kong Express flight to Saipan, which is a popular destination for women who want to give birth on USA territory to obtain American citizenship for their baby.
Passengers wait at the check-in counter of Hong Kong Express Airways at the Hong Kong International Airport. However, despite completing a questionnaire prior to flying, Ms Nishida was "randomly" selected to undergo a "fit to fly" medical check. She took the test, which was negative, and she was allowed to board the plane. She was then escorted to a toilet and given a strip to urinate on.
It initially said the test was part of a "fit-to-fly" assessment.More news: Newcastle still interested in Leeds United target Jarrod Bowen
"Birth tourism", as it's called, is so rife in Saipan, the number of babies born to tourists far outnumbers those born to permanent residents.
Saipan is a popular destination for women wanting to give birth on USA soil to secure American citizenship for their child. The Telegraph estimates that, in 2018, 582 babies were born in Saipan to visiting mothers, while only 492 were born to women who live there full time.
Pregnant foreigners aren't prohibited from entering the USA, or from giving birth in United States territory, but authorities can turn away visitors if they are found to be lying about the reason for their travel, or if they can't prove they have the funds to pay for medical procedures, including giving birth.
A Hong Kong-based airline has apologised after it demanded a passenger take a test to prove she was not pregnant before boarding a flight to the US Pacific island of Saipan.More news: Transfer: Lampard speaks on two key players leaving Chelsea for new clubs
"They just told me that they were doing this as a response to immigration concerns to the US and that they have made a decision to discontinue the policy after reviewing it", she says.
The airline has since apologized and said that it required tests to "ensure USA immigration laws were not 'undermined, ' " according to the Associated Press. It says it has now suspended the practice.
In an emailed statement to Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, HK Express said: "We would like to apologise unreservedly to anyone who has been affected by this".
US Customs and Border Protection has not asked airlines that fly to the Northern Mariana Islands to take measures such as requiring pregnancy tests, the Washington Post reported. It's not known how many other female passengers have had to go through the same process in order to be allowed to board.More news: Boeing is working on a new software issue on the 737 Max