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

It is better to be alive than aborted. Who will be a voice for the voiceless? Who will defend those unable to defend themselves? Abortion is the ultimate in abuse and neglect. The baby is a human person. Who will speak for the baby?

anonymous

These administrators sound like brutes. But to play devil's advocate for a moment-- it's always strange for me, coming from progressive urban Europe, to see how permissive abortion law is in the United States. In France, in Germany, in Norway, in Belgium-- hardly a bigoted group of nations-- abortions are almost impossible to attain after 13 weeks. We do not talk about viability because the cut-off occurs long before that's even a remote possibility. You can't even reach fetal development, let alone viability. At 24 weeks there's a fifty-fifty chance of survival. The fact that Texas even flirts with that number (their ban is after 20) is pretty astounding. How can the most conservative state in the most conservative country in the western world have more liberal abortion laws than Denmark, its most progressive? It's very, very bizarre, and it makes me wonder whether the pro-choice movement is not being unnecessarily intransigent in their tactics and ideals. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans-- 75 to 25 or more-- agree on these two basic points: that abortions should be legal and easily accessible in the first trimester and should be banned thereafter except in extraordinary circumstances, and no, "not being ready" is not an extraordinary circumstance. This is an issue which most western democracies have solved in a judicious way, and their solution, I'm sorry to say, resembles Ted Cruz a lot more than it does Planned Parenthood.

anonymous

These administrators sound like brutes. But to play devil's advocate for a moment-- it's always strange for me, coming from progressive urban Europe, to see how permissive abortion law is in the United States. In France, in Germany, in Norway, in Belgium-- hardly a bigoted group of nations-- abortions are almost impossible to attain after 13 weeks. We do not talk about viability because the cut-off occurs long before that's even a remote possibility. You can't even reach fetal development, let alone viability. At 24 weeks there's a fifty-fifty chance of survival. The fact that Texas even flirts with that number (their ban is after 20) is pretty astounding. How can the most conservative state in the most conservative country in the western world have more liberal abortion laws than Denmark, its most progressive? It's very, very bizarre, and it makes me wonder whether the pro-choice movement is not being unnecessarily intransigent in their tactics and ideals. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans-- 75 to 25 or more-- agree on these two basic points: that abortions should be legal and easily accessible in the first trimester and should be banned thereafter except in extraordinary circumstances, and no, "not being ready" is not an extraordinary circumstance. This is an issue which most western democracies have solved in a judicious way, and their solution, I'm sorry to say, resembles Ted Cruz a lot more than it does Planned Parenthood.

Anonymous

Unbelievable. .. WOW...
Let that poor child get the help she needs! PRO CHOICE! 100%
What a horrible world we live in.. this is a choice made by the patient and doctor. .regardless of age or citizenship. .NO ONE ELSES BUSINESS!!! tsk tsk...just terrible...so sad

Anonymous

No matter the issue or the desired outcome, what has occurred in those pursuits is called child abuse, among others. That's undeniable. And it's just a game played by people who, themselves, have nothing to lose. How can anyone root for the abuse of a child? If there's no other way for you to 'win', then I pity all of you for the consequences of your actions. For those of you who use their god as a reason, I strongly suspect your god is not going to back you on this one...I'd bet my life on that, actually.

anna

One of my friend was pregnant but it was her mistake, so wants to abort her unwanted pregnancy then I suggest her about onlinegenericpill website to buy MTP kit.
http://www.onlinegenericpill.com/

Anonymous

I can't believe how willing so many people are to killing a baby. You all want to be sponsors and even house immigrants afterwards. Why can't the conversation be....lets see how we can help her with her pregnancy and help het afterwards. Why does it have to be...
How can we help her KILL her innocent baby because this baby is going to be in the way and nobody wants it! This baby in the womb has no idea that so many people are willing to help KILL it. It's a sad sad world we live in. God help us all...

Anonymous

Did ANYONE talk to her about giving the baby up for adoption? She didn't HAVE to be a teen mother. She could have given the baby a chance at life with a family that cannot have children them self. And you can't give me the argument "what if the baby had a disability". That don't fly with me either. My baby sister in law AND my nephew both were/are down syndrome.

Jonathan

RIP Unborn child because of the irresponsible actions of his or her mother

Anonymous

abortion is just wrong

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