(PRESS RELEASE) Today the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in the case Azar v. Garza, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The brief is in support of the “Janes,” unaccompanied immigrant minors in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) who are being denied access to abortion.
The brief, which applies a human rights and reproductive justice analysis, demonstrates that ORR’s actions violate unaccompanied immigrant minors’ fundamental rights by effectively denying access to abortion altogether.
All people have an inherent right to self-determination, bodily autonomy, and dignity. Decisions about whether and when to have children are deeply personal expressions of individual agency, implicating core liberty, privacy, and dignity interests. The brief highlights that both international human rights law and U.S. constitutional law recognize a woman’s fundamental right to make her own decisions about pregnancy and abortion.
A coalition of 34 diverse organizations committed to reproductive health, rights, and justice for women and for all people joined the brief as amici.
Said Lourdes Rivera, Senior Vice President of US Programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“The Office for Refugee Resettlement’s policies demonstrate an alarming disregard for the Janes’ lives, health, humanity, and dignity. We stand with the Janes and all other people seeking access to abortion, and urge the Court to uphold the fundamental human rights of all people to make their own decisions about their bodies and pregnancies, free from discrimination and coercion.”
Said Sung Yeon Choimorrow, Executive Director at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF):
“The Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) policy of banning abortion access for unaccompanied immigrant minors in government custody is cruel and inhumane. It is a violation of the Janes’—the plaintiffs in this case—constitutional and human rights. By allowing one person, Director Scott Lloyd, to impose his own personal beliefs to deny all unaccompanied immigrant minors’ abortion access, ORR is exploiting its power to control immigrant women’s bodies. This is reproductive coercion, plain and simple. Reproductive justice demands that these women be able to fully exercise their right to make their own reproductive decisions.
ORR’s ban here is just a continuation of the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda—one that strips power from immigrant women by taking away their control over what happens to themselves and their families. It seems like every day, we hear horrifying stories about the families who have been separated at the border as a result of this administration’s policies. What’s more, thousands of children and pregnant women are being detained under inhumane, dangerous and unlawful conditions—including poor hygiene and medical neglect. These are just a few examples of this administration’s complete disregard for the health, safety, and humanity of immigrants. We must fight these attacks on immigrants’ rights.
“NAPAWF will continue fighting for reproductive justice for Asian American and Pacific Islander women and immigrant women across the country. Justice for one means justice for all—and immigrant women like the Janes deserve no less than the right to have full agency to exercise freedom of choice when it comes to their own bodies.”
Said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH):
“The government does not have jurisdiction over our bodies, and should not have the power to intimidate or coerce anyone seeking abortion care. Yet, we have seen the administration grossly exploit its power and interfere with young immigrant women’s right to make decisions about their health, families, and futures with dignity. Allowing ORR to continue its practice of manipulating and controlling young immigrants’ bodily autonomy is not only against the U.S. Constitution and international human rights standards, but an imminent danger to the physical and mental health and safety of every individual under its custody. This harmful practice is one piece of a larger system rooted in white supremacy, which has historically worked to maintain inequality. Reproductive justice demands people of all ages and immigration status have access to the comprehensive health services they need and desire, including abortion care. NLIRH, along with its partners, ask the Court to stop this country’s shameful legacy of controlling black and brown bodies, and ensure reproductive justice is achieved for every person like Jane.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world.
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) is the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S. NAPAWF’s mission is to build a movement to advance social justice and human rights for AAPI women and girls.
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