Read The Powerful Statement From An Undocumented Teen Who Fought To Receive An Abortion

"This is my life, my decision. I want a better future. I want justice."

A 17-year-old undocumented immigrant was able to obtain an abortion earlier this week after a month-long legal battle. According to The Washington Post, the young woman, known as Jane Doe, was detained at the Mexican border, and learned she was pregnant after a medical examination in custody.

The teenager's attempt to obtain an abortion was reportedly blocked by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which pointed to a new policy against facilitating abortions for unaccompanied, undocumented minors in federal custody. Jane Doe was represented in a federal lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.


On Wednesday, a federal appeals court ruled in the young woman's favor, and she was able to leave the Texas shelter where she is being held and terminate her pregnancy before the Justice Department could appeal the case to the Supreme Court. As the Post points out, at 15 weeks, she was within the 20-week limit on obtaining abortions in Texas.

Jane Doe released a statement, via her guardian, following the court's decision. In it, she shares her reasons for traveling to the United States, sheds light on her experience in the shelter, and offers a powerful argument for a woman's agency over her own body.

"My name is not Jane Doe, but I am a Jane Doe," she begins the statement, going on to explain that she sought a "better life" in the United States, and dreams about one day becoming a nurse who works with the elderly. She emphasizes that she knew exactly "what was best for me" after learning she was pregnant — "that I'm not ready to be a parent." The statement also refers to a visit with a doctor who "tried to convince me not to abort and to look at sonograms."

"I made my decision and that is between me and God. Through all of this, I have never changed my mind," she says. "No one should be shamed for making the right decision for themselves. I would not tell any other girl in my situation what they should do. That decision is hers and hers alone."

Jane Doe has received an outpouring of support from many, which her lawyers have relayed to her. "I am touched by this show of love from people I may never know and from a country I am just beginning to know – to all of you, thank you."

She ends her statement with these powerful words: "This is my life, my decision. I want a better future. I want justice."

Jane Doe's case highlights important issues relating to threats against abortion rights, as well as the rights of undocumented immigrants, under the Trump administration. The U.S. House of Representatives, for example, recently passed a bill which would ban abortion after 20 weeks, with exceptions in cases of incest, rape, and a danger to the woman's life. It will now move on to the Senate.

The administration's decision last month to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era policy which allowed 800,000 undocumented children of immigrants to live and work in the United States without fear of deportation, has also angered many. Crackdowns on undocumented immigration, meanwhile, have led to such recent stories as a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy being detained after surgery.

"Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. But make no mistake about it, the Administration's efforts to interfere in women's decisions won't stop with Jane," the ACLU's Brigitte Amiri, who argued Jane Doe's case in court, said in a statement following Wednesday's ruling. "With this case we have seen the astounding lengths this administration will go to block women from abortion care. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every woman like Jane."

(H/T: Refinery 29)

Cover image via Rena Schild /


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