Jane Doe’s Ordeal Illustrates the Trump Administration’s Threat to All Women’s Reproductive Rights

Last night was the first night in a month that I was able to fall asleep without worrying about whether Jane Doe would get the medical care she needs. Jane, a 17-year-old unaccompanied immigrant minor, received her abortion yesterday after being held hostage by our federal government for over a month. But while the legal drama and Jane’s plight captured the country’s attention, her battle is part an overall war being waged by the Trump Administration against reproductive rights and immigrants’ rights.

Jane crossed the U.S. border on her own in September. She was detained and placed in a government-funded shelter where she discovered she was pregnant. She immediately asked for an abortion. But what federal officials did next is straight out of dystopian fiction.

Under their new Trump-era policy, which drastically restricts abortion access for minors in their custody, they ordered the shelter to block Jane from accessing an abortion. Government officials then forced her to visit a “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” a religiously-affiliated counseling center that is not staffed by healthcare professionals, to try to coerce her to carry her pregnancy to term. As Jane herself said, “People I don’t even know are trying to make me change my mind.”

Jane was resolute in her decision to have an abortion, and she bravely decided to challenge the government’s unlawful and inhumane actions. It might be easy to dismiss Jane’s case as unique. But make no mistake: The Trump Administration would do to all of us what it has done to Jane if it could.

Anti-abortion politicians always start by targeting the most marginalized. Shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, a member of Congress, Henry Hyde, introduced a law that banned Medicaid from covering abortion. “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman,” he said at the time. “Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the Medicaid bill.”

To this day, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds to cover abortion for those who have Medicaid for their health insurance, forcing one in four poor women to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term because she can’t raise the money to pay for an abortion. Though separated by time, the Trump administration’s actions mirror those of Hyde. They aim to put an end to abortion, and they target low-income and marginalized people in our society.

Trump has vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices that would overturn Roe, and earlier this month, the Trump Administration rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement. There is no doubt that more attacks are coming.

In just the first six months of 2017, state legislators in six states introduced measures to ban all abortions, and legislators in 28 states introduced measures to ban abortions under some circumstances, all of them supported by the Trump administration.

If you were outraged by what our government did to Jane, you should know that there are so many more Janes out there. Not just unaccompanied immigrant minors, who are in a similar situation to Jane, but everyone in this country who is unable to access the care that they need because of the sham laws put in place by ideological politicians. As we did for Jane, let’s stand together and say: If you want to come for any of these Janes, you have to go through us first.

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Anonymous

I just saw the interview with Rachel Maddow. What about the 30+ children that were pregnant in March? Is anyone at ACLU investigating what happened in those cases (and those potentially American Citizen Minors under 1 year old)?

James Melville ...

Dear American Civil Liberties Undertaker's,

Those who condone abortion and those who work in the abortion industry have 'seared' their consciences. It takes one to know one!

Those who insist that abortion is a 'right' do not understand 'rights'. To quote a comment from an author whose name I can't recall for certain offhand, 'You have a right to the last breath you just took. The next one comes from God'.

blessings,

Anonymous

Then let God speak for himself if it wishes to. But you, you get out of other people's lives. You have NO right to impose your religion on anyone else nor make decisions for them. You all talk high & mighty, how life is so precious, but the moment the baby is born, that "precious" life means nothing to you. All the hardships, the lack of resources, lack of love in some cases, you turn a blind eye to. Birthers, hipocrites all.

Anonymous

Not everyone has to believe what you do. Should the government change its mind and go invent a religion should we make you believe it? You are not God so how do you take away our free will??

Dawn S.

Not everyone believes in invisible daddies in the sky OR his troll in the hot basement.

jovita

Now every pregnant child undocumented will come to the usa to get abortions what a curse to our nation

Anonymous

It doesn't matter if they do come here to get an abortion. They can get one and be sent back to Mexico if the need calls for it. Women don't have ready access to abortion there, even though it should be a basic right. No woman should have to remain pregnant if she doesn't want to. That violates basic human rights, its despicable. And its economically unwise as well. If a woman can't afford an abortion, how in Gods name can she afford to raise a child????

TL

If you don’t want an abortion, then don’t get one. You have no right, nor do government MEN, to control other women’s bodies and reproductive decisions.

Better yet, use your pro-life energy to stop our wars, end capital punishment, and ensure that every living person here gets adequate food, shelter, and medical care.

LawGirl

They wanted to force her to have an "anchor baby," further complicating her immigration matter.

Anonymous

Anyone who is pro-life to the exclusion of any circumstances needs take a second look at history. Women were dying and will again either because their life depended on an abortion or because they had to go to the back of beyond to get a "back-alley" abortion for an unwanted embryo. Or you can be responsible for the children of rapes and incest. Welfare will have more abused children and messed up adults to pay for. Increased crime and addiction from where we are now. God gave us free will. It's not your choice, but don't think taking it away will have any good outcome.

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