Access to Abortion for Young Immigrants in Government Custody

On Friday, a federal judge ruled that our lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's policy of obstructing access to abortion for unaccompanied immigrant minors could move forward as a class action and that the government had to stop its cruel policy while the case proceeds. 

The court’s decision is a huge relief.  It means that young women who are pregnant and in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement will not have to suffer the way our client Jane Doe did. 

Jane came to this country September 2017 without her parents, who abused her in her home country, seeking a better life.  When she found out she was pregnant after the U.S. government detained her, she immediately requested an abortion.  But instead of providing her access to medical care – as required by law – the government attempted to coerce her to carry her pregnancy to term, at the explicit instruction of head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd.  Lloyd also forced her to endure medically unnecessary ultrasounds, and instructed that she tell her abusive parents in her home country about her pregnancy.

Learn more about the case

Jane kept asking for abortion access, and eventually, Lloyd prohibited Jane from being transported for any abortion-related appointments.  After four weeks of court battles, Jane was finally allowed to obtain her abortion. 

Since representing Jane, we’ve been back in court on behalf of other young women – other “Janes.”  We’ve been successful in their individual emergencies too.  But until Friday, the government’s policy remained in place. That meant that young woman were still being subjected to the extreme policy unless they found their way to us, and we went to court. 

We know that there are many young women that did not find their way to us, and were forced to endure the government’s coercion and obstruction.  In a recent deposition, Lloyd’s second-in-command, Jonathan White, testified that there were four young women from mid-December to mid-February who requested access to abortion, which was unknown to us. Some of them abandoned their abortion requests, very likely after being subjected to the government’s coercion tactics.

Fortunately, the court's decision protects all pregnant unaccompanied minors going forward.  Judge Tanya Chutkan recognized that Lloyd is imposing “his ideological opposition to abortion” even in the case of rape, to unconstitutionally “exercise complete control over” unaccompanied immigrant minors.  Lloyd’s ideological and religious opposition to abortion has been confirmed over and over again, including in his most recent deposition where he testified he believes abortion is a “sin” and he would potentially be complicit in sin if ever approved an abortion request. 

The court’s decision takes away from Lloyd the power to block young women’s abortion access, and puts that power where it should have been all along: with the young women themselves. Although the court’s ruling is promising, the fight is not over.  Though the policy is blocked as the case proceeds, we have months of legal work ahead to build our case so that the court will strike the policy down once and for all. 

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Anonymous

Except that the "young woman" isn't a "woman". What happens when the Minor's parents or home government decide to sue the US Government for allowing their minor child to get an unnecessary (as in, not life-or-death) medical procedure they are morally against and/or is illegal by the laws of their country? It will happen eventually as suing the US Government is a fairly lucrative activity. Tax payers will end up getting even more screwed. If foreign Minor's want elective medical procedures, and their parents aren't around to authorize it, then they need to be sent home.

Anonymous

hmmm "woman" enough to be impregnated by a man, but not woman enough to make her own decisions about her body when parents are not available. Imagine being a "young woman."

Rita Joseph

Ultrasound technology, together with biology, embryology, fetal surgery, and examination of the human remains of an abortion, all tell us that the victim targeted for abortion is a human being, belonging to the human family, a human being who can be identified as a daughter or son, a ‘who’ not a generic ‘thing’.

Abortionists are in denial about the humanity of their tiny second patients targeted for extermination. A cult of denial is not unusual where exterminations of vulnerable ‘unwanted’ human beings have been authorized and carried out with impunity over a long period of time.

It is an uncomfortable truth of the human condition that when we harm another human being we seek to deny that any harm was done. History has recorded so many, many lethal violations of the human rights of defenseless human beings, and the vapid narcissistic excuses of the perpetrators, as they themselves become more and more brutalized while always maintaining that there has been no harm done to any human being who matters.

True justice requires that elective abortions be recognized and treated not as harmless, idiosyncratic, personal ‘choices’ but as abusive practices, as human rights violations perpetrated by individuals and involving the complicity of politicians, judges and others.

Jeriah

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and we'll spill the blood of your little boy or girl in the womb, because we demonically believe in power to attain a better world through spilling innocent blood.

Isaiah 10:1-2 (KJV) Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

James

So the ACLU condones abortion - true to their ANTI- GOD nature!

Ward H

I do not expect to have any rights in a country of which I am not a citizen. Initiatives like this cost taxpayers needlessly.

Anonymous

That's really interesting! So if you went to another country and were put in prison for an apparently arbitrary offence - say, in this hypothetical country chewing gum in public is illegal - you wouldn't make any appeal to be released? What if they put you in prison because you were a non-citizen chewing gum, which is an offence in that country, even it was legal for a national of that country to chew gum? Would you call upon the 'rule of law' and attempt to access the courts, or would that be a waste of the taxpayers money of that nation?

Anonymous

Taxpayers do not pay for abortions except in the rate cases where it is necessary to save the life of the mother.
Don't worry Ward H.,. Your precious money is safe.

Anonymous

Choices...

In America, we recognize life after birth.
- We give a Social Security Number to new citizen at birth and not at conception.
- We assign US Citizenship at birth and not at conception.

If you found out that the baby being carried by a women is a vessel until the baby is born, would that change your perception?

If you found out that a baby's soul (as you know it) is developed after birth, would that change your perception?

Are many people against Pro-Choice because they are worried that society would have a more open lifestyle? Are some people worried they would have to work harder in their own relationships? Are some people wanting to suppress women?

With Pro-Choice...women need to be responsible and accountable for their choices they make...financially, emotionally, etc.

Anonymous

What about the fact that these are children? Shouldn't their parents be involved in the decision to have an invasive surgical procedure? If the parents can't be found, shouldn't the government who is in loco parentis to them have a say about what is best for them? Also some of them come from countries where abortion isn't legal. Are they coming here just for abortions? We shouldn't help them, should we?

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