Undocumented Teen Has Abortion After Weeks of Battling Trump Administration

By catherine lizette gonzalez Oct 26, 2017

A 17-year-old undocumented teen terminated her pregnancy Wednesday (October 25), after weeks of battling the Trump administration. A day after a federal appeals court ruled in her favor, the teen left detention in south Texas to obtain the procedure.

In early September, the teen—identified in court as "Jane Doe"—left her home in Central America and traveled north to the United States, where she was detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. After a medical examination, she discovered that she was pregnant and requested an abortion.

"I knew what was best for me then, as I do now—that I’m not ready to be a parent," she said in a statement released by her attorneys. But a month ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement denied her request. 

Under the Trump administration‘s latest immigration policies, unaccompanied minors seeking an abortion must receive permission from the head of Refugee Resettlement. Director E. Scott Lloyd, who is staunchly anti-abortion, has personally intervened in the past when undocumented teens have sought care.

The medical procedure followed a month of federal court battles that finally ended in a federal appeals court in the District of Columbia. A majority of the judges overruled an order that would have delayed the abortion even further. On Wednesday (October 25), after the court ruling, the teen’s guardians rushed her to the nearest provider to obtain the procedure. In Texas, abortion is banned at 20 weeks, and she was already 15 weeks pregnant.

"Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. But make no mistake about it, the administration’s efforts to interfere in women’s decisions won’t stop with Jane," Brigitte Amiri, one of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attorneys who argued the case in court, said in a statement released Wednesday. "With this case we have seen the astounding lengths this administrion will go to block women from abortion care." 

The teen also issued a statement. "People I don’t even know are trying to change my mind," she said. "I made my decision and that is between me and God. Through all of this, I have never changed my mind."


rntThe full transcript of her statement is available to read on the ACLU’s website

Last night, Vice News also aired an interview with the teen. It was conducted after she received the state-mandated counseling ahead of the procedure. She discussed her dreams of becoming a doctor, being denied medical care and the difficulties of living under the constant scrutiny of detention.

"Being in that place is difficult for me because you have no freedom for anything," she said in Spanish. "If you want to do something, you have to tell someone. You can’t even hug someone." 

Watch the interview with Jane Doe below.