On Wednesday morning, an undocumented 17-year-old immigrant known publicly as simply “Jane Doe” had an abortion. This shouldn’t be news, but it ended a massive effort by Trump administration officials to block the girl from carrying out a procedure that she is legally and constitutionally entitled to undergo.
News of the procedure was tweeted by the ACLU, which had been representing Doe in her courtroom battles to ensure that her ability to exercise her reproductive rights was not infringed upon by government officials.
The girl’s representatives then put out a statement attributed to her (emphasis mine throughout):
My name is not Jane Doe, but I am a Jane Doe.
I’m a 17 year old girl that came to this country to make a better life for myself. My journey wasn’t easy, but I came here with hope in my heart to build a life I can be proud of. I dream about studying, becoming a nurse, and one day working with the elderly.
When I was detained, I was placed in a shelter for children. It was there that I was told I was pregnant. I knew immediately what was best for me then, as I do now – that I’m not ready to be a parent. Thanks to my lawyers, Rochelle Garza and Christine Cortez, and with the help of Jane’s Due Process, I went before a judge and was given permission to end my pregnancy without my parents’ consent. I was nervous about appearing in court, but I was treated very kindly. I am grateful that the judge agreed with my decision and granted the bypass.
While the government provides for most of my needs at the shelter, they have not allowed me to leave to get an abortion. Instead, they made me see a doctor that tried to convince me not to abort and to look at sonograms. People I don’t even know are trying to make me change my mind. I made my decision and that is between me and God. Through all of this, I have never changed my mind.
No one should be shamed for making the right decision for themselves. I would not tell any other girl in my situation what they should do. That decision is hers and hers alone.
I’ve been waiting for more than a month since I made my decision. It has been very difficult to wait in the shelter for news that the judges in Washington, D.C. have given me permission to proceed with my decision. I am grateful for this, and I ask that the government accept it. Please stop delaying my decision any longer.
My lawyers have told me that people around the country have been calling and writing to show support for me. I am touched by this show of love from people I may never know and from a country I am just beginning to know – to all of you, thank you.
This is my life, my decision. I want a better future. I want justice.
Doe had the abortion less than 24 hours after a panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Of Columbia Circuit ruled against the government’s appeal of an earlier decision granting Doe the abortion. In that ruling, Judge Patricia Millett said that the decision “rights a grave constitutional wrong by the government.”
As an undocumented minor, Doe is currently in federal custody in a facility in Texas. Despite having obtained permission to end her pregnancy without the standard parental permissions required in that state, her access to a nearby abortion facility was blocked by federal officials, who directed Doe to a religiously oriented pregnancy center instead.
In her ruling on Tuesday, Judge Millett wrote:
It is unclear why undocumented status should change everything. Surely the mere act of entry into the United States without documentation does not mean that an immigrant’s body is no longer her or his own. Nor can the sanction for unlawful entry be forcing a child to have a baby.
Despite Doe’s abortion on Wednesday, the ACLU warned that this was likely not the last case of its kind, promising to “not stop fighting until every woman has access to abortion care.”