Jane Doe Wants an Abortion but the Government Is Hell Bent on Stopping Her

UPDATE (10/23/2017): Late Friday, a panel of the D.C. Circuit issued an order that sidestepped the serious constitutional questions in the Jane Doe case and allowed the government to further delay her ability to obtain an abortion. Sunday evening, the ACLU filed an emergency petition for en banc review, which asks all of the judges on the D.C. Circuit Court to review the panel’s order. We now await the panel’s decision.

After Jane Doe, a 17-year-old immigrant from Central America, found out she was pregnant last month, she decided to have an abortion. But the Office of Refugee Resettlement —  the federal government agency charged with caring for unaccompanied immigrant minors once they enter the country —  is prohibiting her from getting one.

The federal government has a new policy that allows it to veto an unaccompanied minors’ abortion decision, and government officials are doing everything imaginable to prevent Ms. Doe from accessing abortion. They have instructed the shelter where Jane Doe is staying not to transport Ms. Doe or allow Ms. Doe’s court-appointed guardian to transport her to the health care center to have an abortion —  essentially holding her hostage.

The new policy is the creation of E. Scott Lloyd, the man President Trump appointed in March 2017 to head ORR. Prior to becoming head of ORR, he was senior policy coordinator for the Knights of Columbus, an anti-abortion Catholic charity. In law school, he assisted the parents of Terri Schiavo, a woman in a vegetative state, in a legal battle to prevent her husband and guardian from removing her feeding tube. In 2010, he founded a law firm, Legal Works Apostolate, which specialized in providing counsel “informed by the particular concerns of families and institutions that must navigate the ‘thickets of the law’ while remaining faithful to Church teaching.”

Rather than allowing Ms. Doe to access a legal procedure that she wants, ORR forced her to go for counseling at a religious, anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center, where she was forced to have a sonogram.

Ms. Doe has never wavered in her decision to have an abortion. Texas law requires minors to have either parental consent or permission from a judge before having an abortion. Ms. Doe went to court and got a judicial permission to have the abortion. The Texas court appointed a guardian and an attorney to look after her best interests. She informed both of them that she decided to have an abortion and made an appointment to get one.

Although the guardian and the attorney are willing to provide transport and have secured financing for the abortion,  the government has refused to temporarily release her from custody or transport her themselves, insisting that either would be tantamount to “facilitating abortion.”

On October 18, we went to court seeking an order to have Jane Doe released so that she could get the abortion she needs. The government argued that they weren’t holding Ms. Doe hostage because she could just agree to be deported to her home country.

Judge Tanya S. Chutkan appeared incredulous at the government argument.

“I am astounded by that position. I have to tell you, I'm astounded that the government is going to make this 17-year-old girl who has received judicial authorization for a medical procedure to which she is constitutionally authorized choose between a pregnancy that she does not want to go forward with to term or returning to the country from which she left. Those are her options. And is it your position that that does not constitute a substantial obstacle? She can leave the country or she cannot get her abortion, those are her options?”

Judge Chutkan promptly ordered the government to release Ms. Doe to her state-appointed guardian so that she could get the abortion.

Ms. Doe had her first of two necessary appointments to get her abortion on October 19, and she was scheduled to get the abortion October 20. However, the government appealed the circuit court’s decision and requested an immediate administrative stay to prevent Jane Doe from getting an elective abortion that would be “irreversible.”

The appellate court granted the request, so we will be back in court on Friday at 10 a.m. to once again argue on behalf of Ms. Doe, so she can get the care to which she is constitutionally entitled — if only the government would step out of her way.

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Anonymous

Richard you are human filth, I hope everywhere you go they punch your lights out nazi scumbag.

Anonymous

Dickhead.

Sonia Romaih

I don't see anyone asking some very pertinent questions. How is it that this child is in the country undocumented and unaccompanied? Where are her parents? Does she have parents and if so, why are they not involved? How hard would it be to contact them? What precedence does this set for young women in countries to the south of our borders where abortion is not legal? That they would be able to sneak over our borders illegally and demand abortions? She is not paying for the procedure, sponsors are, does that make the pro-choice community patsies? This case is not about a minor child that is American with full rights being denied an abortion, this girl is here illegally and is not entitled to the same rights of a young woman either born here or here on a legal visa. Why has this issue never come up before? Have young women been able to come here illegally and obtain abortions all these years? That her problem was that she got caught before she was able to have the abortion?
These are the questions I have.

Patti

As a legal immigrant now a citizen I couldn't agree with you more Sonia. Very well said!!!

Anonymous

You don't see it because you aren't really following the case or you aren't listening. The child fled her country because her parents were abusive and her country is violent. Her parents are in her home country. They are not involved because they previously beat her older sister with a bat to force her to miscarry. It isn't hard to contact them, Scott Lloyd already did, in contravention of the law in some states (my state for instance). It does not set any precedent, if someone is not in custody nothing would prevent them from getting an abortion, it's a constitutional right here. This case is not about an American minor child, that is true, but the rest of that sentence is garbage. Unless a particular constitutional right is specifically restricted in the Constitution, it is a right of anyone who is here, period. This particular right derives from the 4th amendment which makes no provision for having to be an American at all, you can read it. The issue has come up before, it was in court in San Francisco before this case. It started with the appointment of this person, Scott Lloyd, as head of ORR, which until that time actually was a sane part of the government. Young women who are seeking asylum are not judged on whether or not they came here illegally. Whether you know it or not, the U.S. has treaty obligations on asylum and one of them is that if someone has a valid claim for asylum, whether or not they arrived with a visa is totally immaterial -- under both international law and the U.S. law implementing it here. She was not "caught before she was able to have an abortion." She arrived at the border (as did the rest of the unaccompanied minors from the Northern Triangle) and surrendered to authorities and asked for asylum.

Maybe you wouldn't have so many burning questions if you just read the news.

Anonymous

Richard One Day I Hope You Get Jumped By A Group Of Mexicans & Other Hispanics & I Hope Your Wife Cheats On You With A Hispanic And She Has A Baby By Him .

Anonymous

Richard: All that hate speech you are spewing will come back to haunt you some day if it hasnt already done so Usually folks like you are sorry excuses for human beings that are upset because they havent made anything of their lives and have to blame someone for all that has gone wrong in their lives. These days its “them Mexicans” ....earlier in the century it was the Irish and Italians! Slither back into that slimy dark hole and stop making a nuisance of yourself!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines forced pregnancy that is systematic or widespread as a crime against humanity. Government ordered is pretty damned systematic. I heard this guy Scott Lloyd speak at the California Refugee Summit in September. I had no idea he was this kind of brutal advocate of Christian shari'a.

Anthony E

This potential anchor baby needs to be aborted immediately.

And, every Democrat should be encouraged to abort her child.

This will help to hold down the population of Democrats

Anonymous

what's the reason for the young woman to want an abortion?

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