The Trump administration is attempting to block yet another pregnant undocumented minor from getting an abortion, according to court papers filed Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union. This appears to be the fourth time the administration has sought to stop a teenager in federal custody from seeking an abortion.
Jane Moe, as the 17-year-old is known in court records, is currently in the custody of a shelter operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees all immigrant children who arrive in the United States without authorization and without their parents. Moe, who’s now in her second trimester of pregnancy, first asked for an abortion two weeks ago, but the office is allegedly refusing to grant Moe’s shelter permission to take her to an abortion clinic.
“The Trump administration is effectively banning abortion for these young women,” Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. (The ACLU is representing Moe.) “We’ve already stopped the government from forcing three other ‘Janes’ to continue pregnancies against their will, but clearly their heartlessness knows no bounds.”
Moe is now seeking a temporary restraining order, which would allow her to go to the abortion clinic.
Jane Doe, the first pregnant, undocumented teen to sue the Trump administration for access to an abortion, ended up receiving an abortion in late October, after a court ruled that the Office of Refugee Resettlement couldn’t block her access to the procedure. Another two teenagers, Jane Poe and Jane Roe, went to court against the Trump administration in December; both also ended up getting abortions.
Office of Refugee Resettlement policy dictates that its director, Scott Lloyd, sign off on all major medical care. Lloyd is a vocal opponent of abortion. In a memo outlining his decision to keep Jane Poe from getting an abortion, he called the procedure “violence that has the ultimate destruction of another human being as its goal.”
“Here there is no medical reason for abortion, it will not undo or erase the memory of the violence committed against her, and it may further traumatize her,” Scott wrote of Poe, who had been impregnated through rape. “I conclude it is not in her interest.”
Under past administrations, former ORR Director Bob Carey told VICE News, if a minor in federal custody was pregnant due to rape and wanted an abortion, the government was required to pay for the cost of the procedure.
“The Jane in this case, Jane Moe — who entered the country illegally — has the option to voluntarily depart to her home country or find a suitable sponsor," Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families said in a statement. "She chooses not to exercise these options, HHS does not believe we are required to facilitate Jane Moe’s abortion, out of concern and responsibility for the mother’s best interests.”