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New York, NY  — A young immigrant woman from Central America, referred to as Jane Doe to protect her identity, is being refused access to an abortion in a program administered by the Trump administration.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which dictates how these federally funded organizations — including the one that’s housing Jane Doe — are run, must ensure that all girls have access to reproductive and sexual health care, including contraception and abortion. Instead it is actively using its power to deny access to reproductive health care.   

“Everyone deserves access to basic health care regardless of their age, income, or immigration status. The Trump administration is abusing its power by denying Jane Doe access to abortion while under the care of the federal government,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “This young woman, who has likely already faced countless dangers and hardships in her journey across our southern border, is being held hostage by a government that refuses to accept her fundamental rights. Unfortunately, we have seen unaccompanied minors under the so-called ‘care’ of ORR denied reproductive health care before; first, by religiously affiliated contractors bent on imposing their views on women and blocking them from exercising their legally entitled right to reproductive health care, and now, by federal government officials themselves. Women’s health and rights are not disposable. We demand that Jane Doe — and others detained by the federal government — immediately be granted access to the full range of care that they need, and that they have a right to access.”

This is a result of the administration ramping up refusals on religious grounds across the board. On Oct. 6, the Department of Justice issued a memo that directs all federal agencies to take religious liberty into account with regards to employment, rulemaking, enforcement, and contracting and distribution of grants. Under this administration, organizations, governments, and individuals will feel empowered to ignore the law and precedents to make discriminatory decisions on the basis of religion.

Despite restrictions by the Trump administration, the flow of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the U.S. continues as the drivers of migration remain in place. For girls and women who continue to face high levels of sexual violence, unplanned pregnancy rates are high and the need for abortion services is dire. Yet all Central American countries have laws that severely restrict or even criminalize abortion. Those seeking abortion are at best stigmatized and at worst imprisoned. They often face continued violence on the treacherous journey across the border, and unfortunately, as in the case of Jane Doe, it's clear that infringement on their bodily autonomy continues, even here in the U.S.


Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.