A pregnant undocumented teenager in federal custody who had taken legal action against the government for preventing her from getting an abortion has been released, the American Civil Liberties Union said.
Known as “Jane Moe,” the 17-year-old had come to the United States without authorization as an unaccompanied minor and had been in custody through the department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. She was transferred into the care of her sponsor on Sunday, the ALCU, who is legally representing the teen, said Monday. The group did not say whether or not she has undergone the procedure.
“While we are relieved that Jane Moe is reunited with her sponsor, the government blocked her from her abortion for more than two weeks, before deliberately moving her out of their custody only when we filed to take them to court,” Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. “We continue to pursue all avenues to ensure that no other young woman like her is forced to continue a pregnancy against her will for purely political reasons.”
The ACLU has filed three similar suits in the last four months, arguing that a new policy put in place by President Donald Trump’s administration, which prohibits federal shelters from assisting women in seeking abortions, is a violation of constitutional rights. Administration officials have pushed back on this in court, arguing that the young women have the option of going back to their native country or be released into the care of a sponsor.
“If 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,” said a spokesman for the HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, which oversees ORR.
All three women were eventually able to receive abortions.