US Government Forces Undocumented Teen to Stay Pregnant Against Her Will

All 17-year old “Jane Doe” wanted was an abortion. The teen, living in a shelter for undocumented minors without parents in the U.S., couldn’t access the procedure in Texas without parental consent, so she found a judge, pled her case and received a judicial bypass.

Despite following every requirement, she has still been denied the termination, as government officials refuse to allow her to leave the shelter and visit the clinic. Now, Doe has been forced to sue simply to obtain her legally granted right to end the pregnancy. And with only four weeks left before she reaches the state’s 20-week gestational limit, her time is almost up.

Doe’s case clearly shows the growing hypocrisy within the GOP when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and immigration under the Trump administration.

The same conservative zealots who have demanded a wall around the U.S., fought for an end to the DREAM Act and toyed with the idea of dismantling birthright citizenship will still put every bit of that xenophobic fervor on the back-burner once offered the chance to prevent an abortion. For those living in the country without documentation, that means denial of access to even the most basic reproductive rights — and for teens, that situation is even worse.

According to Doe’s complaint, Office of Refugee Resettlement Director Scott Lloyd has made significant changes to how shelters deal with residents who request abortions, including mandating religious or psychiatric counseling or forcing them to visit crisis pregnancy centers. CPCs are notorious for forcing women to view ultrasounds and otherwise coercing them into carrying their pregnancy to term.

The actions mark a new path forward under the Trump administration, and one that Lloyd has been aggressively promoting among his staff.

As Reveal News reports:

On March 14, according to another email filed with the court, the new director, Lloyd, offered some advice to his staff after visiting a girl in the office’s custody. “Often these girls start to regret abortion,” he wrote, “and if this comes up, we need to connect her with resources for psychological and/or religious counseling.” In another email, Lloyd told shelters to steer minors only to “pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling,” not abortion providers. Lloyd reminded his staff that ‘the unborn child is a child in our care’ and to make medical decisions accordingly.

While “steering” pregnant people to centers that will persuade them to continue a pregnancy and outright refusing to allow a minor to leave a shelter in order to keep her pregnant are two very different actions, they both show exactly how far the Trump administration is willing to go to force people to give birth.

In fact, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton praised these steps, claiming that they will stop Texas from becoming a “sanctuary state for abortion.”

While the religious right seems willing to do whatever it takes to force a person to give birth against her will, these same legislators unfortunately do not have that same eagerness to promote a healthy pregnancy.

Already, the Trump administration has completely reversed the standing policy of not detaining pregnant individuals. And those who are detained continue to be denied the type of care necessary to ensure safe, healthy births.

The Texas Observer illuminates the abuse:

In September, seven organizations filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, accusing the agency of “failure to abide by its own policy against detaining pregnant women.” The complaint includes stories from 10 pregnant women who were locked up in recent months, including [Carolina] Ramirez. The women reported bad food, nausea, vomiting, depression and inability to get specialized care. In the last year, at least five women have miscarried in detention, according to the Huffington Post.

This is the same cognitive dissidence that has plagued the right for decades. It’s the same reasoning that led many of the Nebraska legislators who voted to restrict abortion to also end a prenatal care program for undocumented immigrants in 2012 — fighting to make terminations impossible but also refusing to help ensure healthy births.

Jane Doe is still pregnant. While her case was heard by a California judge who agreed that the Texas officials are wrong to deny her the chance to go to the clinic, that judge stated that she could not intervene because it wasn’t her jurisdiction.

Doe has four weeks to sue in a new venue before she will be forced to carry to term.

The right is already calling every day she remains pregnant a “victory.“  And if they do eventually win, there will likely be many, many more Jane Does finding themselves forced into births they never wanted.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

95 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill7 months ago

What about the right of the baby? By the way, our rights are just that, our rights. Not bestowed on anyone who comes in illegally!

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson8 months ago

@Michael Stuart--You suggest asking God what he thinks of Abortion--Well here it is Michael--God commands the Israelite's to kill used women, women with child to be sword aborted, but to keep the virgin women for themselves! Doesn't seem to me he gives a rats hiney. And how many times has he, in a fit of rage, killed men, women, children, old,young, and your favorite fetuses?. In fact he would have her and her fetus stoned to death for being a single, unmarried pregnant woman!

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Misss D
Shari F8 months ago

Sorry, that if she WAS raped, she has the right an abortion. The NOT should have been removed. Typo. Thanks.

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Misss D
Shari F8 months ago

Hi Michael. You are comparing Hitler killing people and the Southern lynchings with abortion. However, in the next sentence, you say that if the girl was not raped, then she has the right to an abortion. However, if abortion is murder, as you are implying by comparing a termination with WW2 and lynching, then it should not go ahead under any circumstances. You need to make your mind up. Abortion is either murder or not and therefore it can either go ahead, or not. With reference to asking God what he thinks of all this, there probably is no God. Your and everybody else's, religions convictions are irrelevant, because they are your religious convictions and no one else's. This girl, and any other woman deciding how to proceed with her pregnancy, will have her own convictions, which will necessarily be different from yours and mine and may, or may well not, include a belief in god/s.

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Michael S
Michael Stuart8 months ago

The end of my comment below seems to have been cut off. Here's the rest of my comment:
If I may, I politely suggest and request that you ask God to show you how He feels about abortion. To say that abortion is no big deal is kind of like telling a fetus that he or she is worth less than a dog. And I know you care about dogs.
BTW, I'm totally ok dialoging with you about this . There are only about 2 "Michael S Stuart" 's on Facebook, and I'm the one in the red shirt next to a lab cabinet. I'm totally willing to receive replies via Facebook.

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Michael S
Michael Stuart8 months ago

Dear Ms. Marty and Care2:
I'm NOT a Republican (in some ways, I lean Democrat) and I ABSOLUTELY am NOT a fan of Trump!! So I'm not defending the GOP or Trump's bullcrap.
I see how much Care2 cares about animals. I'm all in favor of being kind to animals. (I'm the guy who will stop my car to remove a helpless turtle from the road.)
However, aren't we supposed to care about unborn fetuses? It seems to me that various cultures have de-humanized other humans. ex: Nazi's tried to kill people who were not Gentiles. Southern states lynched men who were not white. Now we pay doctors to kill fetuses who are not born. Pardon me for making these blunt comparisons, but I think all 3 forms of killing are wrong.
I did not see mention of this young lady being raped. If she was raped, then I think you could make an ethical case that she has a right to abortion. But if she choose to have sex, then she and her husband/boyfriend are obligated to either give the baby up for adoption or raise the baby. I'm in my 40s, and I choose to save my body for my future wife. I cannot impose that standard on non-Christians, but I do think that if you choose to have sex, then you have to live with the consequences of that choice, which could mean carrying a baby for 9 months and then letting a loving couple adopt him/her.
If I may, I politely suggest and request that you ask God to show you how He feels about abortion. To say that abortion is no big deal is ki

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I8 months ago

This is a real piss-off!! Thank you

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One Heart i
One Heart inc8 months ago

Thanks!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cABVKIPk_u0

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Janet B
Janet B8 months ago

Thanks

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