Update (October 25, 10:00 AM): On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 6–3 in Jane Doe’s favor. According to this ruling, Jane Doe must be allowed to obtain an abortion.
While the Trump administration has worked on challenging the rights of women by changing health care, insurance, and other laws that directly affect or reproductive rights, a quiet battle has been raging in Texas. At its center is a 17-year-old girl who was arrested at the US-Mexico border and detained for trying to access the country without proper visas. While in detention, the girl found out she was pregnant, and the firestorm that her pregnancy has brought about shows how strong of a chokehold the administration has on women’s health access today, creating a new battle: one in which legal advocates are hoping to gain #JusticeForJane.
While in a shelter awaiting trial and deportation, “Jane Doe” learned of her pregnancy — which she wished to terminate. Because she is in Texas, the state has a “parental consent” law, meaning that while abortion is not illegal, the law assumes all women seeking abortions are minors until they prove otherwise, and in Jane Doe’s case, she couldn’t prove that as she does not have family or identification in the state.
After jumping through legal hoops (and with the help of a number of legal aid organizations), Jane Doe finally got the legal approval required for her medical procedure at the end of her first trimester, on September 28th. Unfortunately for Jane Doe, however, the Trump administration stepped in, stopping her from getting the abortion she was seeking — putting her life, and the life of her unborn child at undue risk.
With Doe’s legal status in this country questionable at best, and while the administration is repealing DACA, giving birth to a naturalized US citizen when you are an undocumented immigrant can be heartbreaking at best and life-threatening at worst. According to the New York Times, this whole problem stems from a Trump-sponsored political appointment who has spent years trying to stop women’s right to choose.
Office of Refugee Resettlement boss E. Scott Lloyd had no experience on immigration matters when he was appointed to his current position earlier this year. An anti-abortion activist, Scott has led the charge in forcing refugees to give birth instead of receiving abortions, even though Amnesty International reports that 60 percent (or more) female migrants have been raped.
The Times further reports that Lloyd has stated in the past that he believes the government should dictate whether or not women should be allowed to receive abortions, writing for the National Catholic Register that, ” the American people [should] make a deal with women: So long as you are using the condom, pill or patch I am providing with my money [for women on TitleX or other government assistance], you are going to promise not to have an abortion if the contraception fails, which it often does. You will put the baby up for adoption if you don’t want him or her.”
Doe’s legally appointed guardian, Rachelle Garza, has spoken on behalf of her ward, saying that the administration even called Doe’s mother in her home country (a woman who, according to Garza, was abusive to Doe) to inform the woman of her daughter’s current state. Garza told The Times that Doe remains “unwavering” in the face of so much prejudice.
While ACLU lawyers were able to get a temporary restraining order allowing a procedure to be scheduled for today (Oct 20), the Trump administration has made a successful move to stay the restraining order. #JusticeForJane has become a major trending topic for this reason.
NARAL Pro-Choice will be holding a rally in support of the teen on Saturday, Oct 21 in DC. In the meantime, the ACLU is continuing to fight on her behalf, with Brigitte Amiri, lead counsel for Doe, telling The Times, “the amount of opposition to this young woman’s abortion is just astounding. And they continue to double down over and over again.”
“Every step of the way I think at some point that justice will prevail and there will be some sense from the federal government that the rule of law prohibits what they’re doing, but they keep taking it to the next level.”
How will you support #JusticeForJane? Tell us @BritandCo!