NLIRH Delivers Over 100 Signatures to Office of Refugee Resettlement in Support of Jane Doe and All Individuals Like Her
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) delivered a letter to the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Director of its Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) demanding that the ORR immediately restore access to reproductive healthcare services and information, including abortion, for the thousands of young people in its custody. The letter is co-signed by over 100 organizations committed to protecting the health and dignity of all people, including youth, immigrants, refugees, and their families.
The letter comes after the ORR’s grave mistreatment of and abuse of power over Jane Doe, the 17-year-old unaccompanied minor from Central America who was denied access to an abortion and forced to continue a pregnancy against her will for a month. On Wednesday, Jane was able to move forward with her abortion after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order requiring the Trump Administration to stop blocking her from essential reproductive healthcare. However, many other young people being held in ORR’s custody may also be denied the ability to get abortion care and coerced and shamed for their decisions. With this letter, NLIRH, PPFA, and other co-signers demand the immediate suspension of any existing ORR policies and practices that restricted prompt access to the full range of reproductive healthcare for individuals within ORR custody.
This morning, in addition to being sent to HHS and ORR, the letter was also submitted to the record by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), ranking member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, during a hearing in which Scott Lloyd, Director of ORR, was questioned on the Jane Doe case and on access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, for all minors in ORR’s custody.
Bethany Van Kampen, Policy Analyst at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), issued the following statement:
“Justice prevailed for Jane Doe, who went to court and was finally able to move forward with her abortion on Wednesday. Now we must continue to fight against the shameful policies that allowed the ORR to interfere with her human right to healthcare, dignity, and self-determination. ORR’s treatment of Jane was not only shocking in its disregard of her autonomy and dignity – it was also against the law. Jane’s case is not the first time the ORR has abused their power to deny people in their care access to the full range of reproductive healthcare. Yesterday, Jane got justice. Today, we continue fighting so that other young immigrant women like Jane held under ORR’s custody not be denied access to an abortion and abused, coerced, and shamed into forgoing the critical care they need.
“We delivered this letter today to HHS Secretary Eric Hargan and ORR Director Scott Lloyd to demand immediate change to existing ORR policies and practices that restrict the reproductive rights, including abortion, of people under their custody. We believe that there is no need more fundamental than the need for access to safe, quality healthcare and information. No one should interfere with a person’s right to make decisions about her health and her future with dignity and self-determination. ORR is bound by law to respect this right.”
Dana Singiser, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Action Fund said “Scott Lloyd demonstrates why Trump’s extreme, anti-women and anti-abortion appointees are so dangerous. With thousands of young women under his control, there’s no doubt that instances of unjust treatment – like what Jane Doe had to endure – will continue. It’s clear Scott Lloyd’s intention is to impose his personal views on young women in the government’s care, denying them access to health care and constitutional rights. It is simply outrageous and wrong.
“Every woman deserves access to basic health care, including abortion, regardless of her immigration status. It is unacceptable that Scott Lloyd and the rest of the Trump administration continue to put women’s health and lives at risk, in pursuit of their extremist political and ideological agenda. Together, we will keep fighting for all of the women like Jane,” Singiser added.
For more information on NLIRH’s fight for health, dignity and justice, visit us at latinainstitute.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @NLIRH.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 28 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.
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