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Debra L. Ness, President

From the desk of ... Debra L. Ness

This Should Never Happen – Not Here

October 25, 2017 | Reproductive Health

You may have read about Jane Doe – a 17-year-old who is being held in a government-funded shelter in Texas because she is an unaccompanied immigrant minor.

Jane wanted an abortion and secured funding for it — but for more than a month, Trump administration officials blocked her from getting the care she needed.

They stopped Jane from keeping her appointment with a health care provider, and instead compelled her to visit a so-called “crisis pregnancy center” where she was forced to have a sonogram — against her will. It was conducted by non-medical personnel.

Officials violated Jane’s privacy and her rights by calling her abusive mother in her home country to tell her that Jane was pregnant.

Our friends at the ACLU defended Jane's rights in court — and thankfully, in a 6–3 ruling yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Jane must be allowed to get care “promptly and without delay.” Jane was able to receive the care she needed this morning.

Unfortunately, we know there are more young women like Jane – vulnerable women who are being forced to carry their pregnancies against their will.

It’s so cruel, it almost takes your breath away.

That should never, ever happen – not here or anywhere. Trump’s Office of Refugee Resettlement must not be allowed to prevent undocumented immigrant minors from getting the health care they need.

And let’s be honest: We know that what Trump administration officials are doing to young women in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is what anti-abortion politicians would do to every woman in this country, if they could – push abortion care out of reach. They are preying on the most defenseless women, but they won’t stop there.

Case in point: In Texas and dozens of states, women seeking abortion care are subjected to harmful laws designed to shame, punish and pressure their choices — and more than 400 new abortion restrictions have been introduced in state legislatures this year. At the same time, the Trump administration and congressional leaders have tried over and over to repeal our health care, roll back contraceptive coverage and defund Planned Parenthood.

There hasn’t been a more dangerous period for women’s health since before Roe v. Wade. And we must recognize that all these actions – the abuses by the administration and Congress, the violations of the fundamental rights of people like Jane – are part of a relentless crusade to attack our access to health care.

I’m taking action, and I hope you will too, before it’s too late.


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