October 19, 2017
On Thursday, October 19, lawyers from the Trump administration sought an emergency order from a federal court to block a 17-year old undocumented immigrant from having an abortion. The 17-year old, who is referred to in court as Jane Doe, was found to be pregnant in a detention center in Texas, where she was taken to after she had been found attempting to illegally enter the country. Though a state judge in Texas permitted Jane to seek an abortion, per the requirements of Texas abortion law for a minor who does not have the permission of her parents, federal officials were unwavering and would not permit Jane to seek the procedure. Attorney General Sessions attempted to prolong the ruling, which was scheduled for the following Friday, and lawyers from the Department of Justice stated that Jane could get an abortion if she returned to her home country. Had the proceedings been delayed, it is quite possible that Jane Doe would not have been able to legally seek an abortion regardless of the ruling, for Texas law does not permit abortions to be sought after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and Jane Doe was 15 weeks pregnant at the time of the hearing.
On Wednesday, October 25 a federal appeals court ruled that Jane could legally seek an abortion. She was represented by Brigitte Amiri, an attorney from the ACLU. In her statement, Jane wrote that she crossed the border to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse and caring for the elderly. She wrote that she is not ready for motherhood, and this decision is one between her and God.
The Department of Justice’s attempt to block Jane Doe from seeking an abortion is an egregious and shocking display of when the federal government’s likening to meddle in the reproductive affairs of a woman who they quite frankly do not even want in the country. Deport her if she enters the country illegally to seek a better life, but keep her here and infringe upon her reproductive rights should she attempt to seek a very personal and private procedure. Though Jane Doe was able to seek an abortion legally, this case sets a very concerning precedent for the state of affairs concerning reproductive rights for all women in the United States, undocumented and documented alike.
- Act With and/or Donate to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund: PPFA is the legislative arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The fund advocates for abortion access, birth control, and health care equity. Find out how you can act beside PPFA or donate to the fund and support its efforts to preserve women’s reproductive, family planning, and health care rights.
- Get Involved With the American Civil Liberties Union: The ACLU is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” They have been actively involved in court cases challenging the Trump Administration on Immigration. You can learn more about supporting the ACLU in their fight for just immigration policy here.
- Support Kids In Need of Defense: KIND protects immigrant and refugee children through providing them with pro bono legal services and educating the public on the most pressing issues facing the child immigrant and refugee community. You can support KIND through donating and/or getting involved in the Back to School campaign.
This brief was compiled by Allie Blum. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.