The Trump Administration Is Preventing A 17-Year-Old Undocumented Immigrant From Having An Abortion

'Jane Doe' is one of possibly hundreds of women, says the American Civil Liberties Union

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  • Update: Jane Doe was able to have an abortion yesterday.
  • There is a lawsuit on behalf of 'Jane Doe', a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor who was taken into federal custody.
  • She's staying in a shelter in Texas and has received judicial permission to get an abortion without parental consent, plus she has raised the funds to pay for it.
  • Officials still won't give their permission due to new legislation which prevents federally funded shelters from taking action that 'facilitates' abortion.
  • The teenager has instead been forced to visit a crisis pregnancy centre.
  • The fear is that she will be made to carry to term against her will.

26th October 2017: Jane Doe is allowed to terminate her pregnancy

The ACLU announced yesterday that after a long fight, Jane Doe has been able to access her abortion.

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Prior to this they had released a statement from the underage immigrant girl, urging the US government to let her terminate her pregnancy.

Her lawyer stated that she would not stop fighting for the other immigrant girls without access to safe and legal abortions.

18th October 2017: Trump administration has been blocking abortions of underage immigrants

The Trump administration is preventing a young, undocumented immigrant woman in Texas from getting an abortion, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

She is not the first to be prevented from having an abortion, they say, despite the government being legally obligated to provide health care. All women in the United States — including prisoners and immigrants, documented or undocumented — have a constitutional right to abortion, says the U.S. Magistrate Laurel Beeler.

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The ACLU is suing on behalf of 'Jane Doe', a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor from Central America, who is staying in a Texas shelter funded by the US Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Federal officials, however, will not transport her or allow anyone else to transport her to get the procedure.

This is due to a legislation that was put in place back in March. The Office of Refugee Resettlement announced that federally funded shelters (like the one 'Jane Doe' is staying in) are barred from taking 'any action that facilitates' abortion for unaccompanied minors without 'direction and approval' from ORR Director Scott Lloyd.

And Lloyd (who works under Trump) is instead, says the ACLU, sending minors to 'crisis pregnancy centres' that urge them not to terminate their pregnancies, rather then giving them access to abortion care.

The 17-year-old has received judicial permission to get an abortion without parental consent, and has also raised the funds to pay for it, but officials still won't give their permission. Doe was instead required to undergo an ultrasound and listen to counsellors who tried to talk her out of an abortion.

Jane Doe's lawyer, Brigitte Amiri, who is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, told Politico, 'There is a pattern of unconstitutional overreach of power in a minor's abortion decision'. She also calls the government's action 'outrageous' and 'unprecedented.'

'The government is completely out of bounds by banning abortion for this young woman,' she said. 'It is blatantly unconstitutional and it is inhumane.'

Doe is currently 14 weeks pregnant and has been battling abortion access since her first scheduled procedure on 28th September. The minor is in the Brownsville refugee centre and time is running out, since abortions after 20 weeks are illegal in Texas.

On Monday night, the Health and Human Services Department released a statement defending its care of the teenager and its decision.

'There is no constitutional right for a pregnant minor to illegally cross the US border and get an elective abortion while in federal custody,' it said.

'The Office of Refugee Resettlement [part of the HHS] is providing excellent care to this young woman and her unborn child and fulfilling our duty to the American people. Federal law is very clear on giving the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement the legal responsibility to decide what is in the best interests of a minor in the unaccompanied alien children program and, in this case, her unborn baby. We cannot cede our responsibility to care for minors and their babies by releasing them to ideological advocacy groups.'

The legal director of the Texas abortion-rights group Jane's Due Process, Susan Hays, said that an HHS director told a shelter staffer, 'My priority is unborn children, and there will be no more abortions.'

'Jane Doe is a brave and persistent young woman who has already been forced by the Trump administration to delay her abortion for weeks,' said Amiri. 'The government is holding her hostage so that she will be forced to carry to term against her will.'

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