Jane Doe Wins Case Against Office of Refugee Resettlement

Seventeen-year-old undocumented immigrant identified in court documents as Jane Doe was recently blocked from getting an abortion by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. She won her court case on Tuesday, October twenty-fourth, and is now waiting to schedule an abortion with a certified health professional.

This past spring, United States President Donald Trump appointed E. Scott Lloyd to head the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an administration made to care for undocumented and unaccompanied minors while waiting for decisions in their immigration cases. Around the same time, the policy was put into place in which no minor could undergo an abortion without Lloyd’s permission. Before this new principle was put into place, minors under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement only needed the permission of the director if they were hoping that the federal government would pay for the procedure.

Doe came to the United States undocumented and unaccompanied on September 11 when she was taken into custody at the United States-Mexico border. Doe, who has ever since been detained in a Texas Immigration Shelter, was struck with news not long ago that she would not be able to get the abortion that she desired. This is due to the Office of Refugee Resettlement instituting the new policy under the Trump administration requiring that all minors seeking abortions must get permission from the office’s director. In this case, permission was not granted. Fortunately for Doe, The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit, entering the teenager into a legal battle with the government. On the eighteenth, United States District Judge Tanya Chutkan instructed the government to allow Doe to vacate for the operation. The government appealed, and a new court order allowed the Office of Refugee Resettlement until October 31 to relocate Doe from the shelter into the reliable care of a medically qualified sponsor who would help her with her abortion. On Tuesday, October 24, an appeals court ruled in Doe’s favor.

Although Jane Doe’s personal fight may be over, the fight for many other undocumented minors just like her is still dragging on. With much protest and opposition to the Trump administration’s approach to dealing with illegal minors and what numerous would consider to be their personal health choices, the United States may expect to see increasingly loud resistance from the same type of people who spoke out for Miss Jane Doe. Whether change will occur because of this resistance is still unknown.

by Rachel Clift

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