If we were to convince the Republican party that not allowing abortions was Sharia Law, I have no doubt that they would change their stance to Pro-Choice immediately. The reason I think it’s important to say this is because no matter how they shape their arguments around the subject matter, the truth is that the “issue” of abortion is more of a political stance to them than it is a humanitarian right, and that’s where all of our problems begin.
Over the course of this past year, an issue has risen within the courts as the ACLU and the Federal government battle to either grant or restrict the rights of pregnant immigrant teenagers who find themselves getting taken into custody after crossing the border. E. Scott Lloyd, the Trump-appointed Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is a staunch opponent to abortion and contraceptives having written an article in 2011 stating, “Contraceptives are the cause of abortion… In fact, if we did not have contraceptives in this country, we would not have anywhere near the abortion rate we do now.”
He is so against these women getting abortions that he has been documented going to speak to them individually to change their mind, forcing them to attend anti-abortion lectures, and making them read anti-abortion pamphlets that have been proven to have inaccurate information concerning the process and contain graphic content with the obvious intention of scaring the women out of their decisions. In one case, he even went so far as to have the medical facility stop mid-abortion and tried to convince the girl to participate in an experimental trial to “reverse” the abortion. Robin Marty, a reporter who learned about this incident wrote, “The Trump administration had discussions about performing medical experiments on an undocumented minor simply because she was in their custody and they thought they could.”
This mindset along with the illegal actions these people are taking to prevent access to the medical process is exactly what the ACLU lawyers are battling in order to guarantee the rights for these immigrant teens. One of these women, who is referred to as Jane Doe in the public briefings, was delayed for nearly a month from getting the abortion she requested after learning about her pregnancy. After the process was complete she released a statement saying, “People I don’t even know are trying to make me change my mind. I made my decision and that is between me and God. Through all of this, I have never changed my mind…No one should be shamed for making the right decision for themselves.”
And really, that’s the truth of it, isn’t it? “I have made my decision and that is between me and God.” For all of the judgement that we try to hurl in each other’s directions, for all of the political battles that are waged, and for all of the opinions that people try to shove into these conversations, this basic element is continually ignored and forgotten. The fact that there is a human being who has to make a decision about their lives and is being denied the right to practice their own free will.
Of course, through continued argumentation over these cases, the agenda of the administration reveals itself through the superficial “Pro-Life” rhetoric as The New York Times reported that, “The government was telling young women who wanted an abortion that they could ‘leave and go somewhere where that right is not in existence.’”
Even with Roe v. Wade providing these legal grounds with precedent that clearly allows women access to abortions, the administration is trying to push forward the claim that it does not apply to these girls. Anna North aptly writes in her article, “By arguing that unaccompanied minors have no constitutional right to get an abortion in the United States, the government is essentially saying “that they do not qualify as ‘person[s]’ under the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and 14th Amendments,” Perry Grossman and Mark Joseph Stern write at Slate. ‘Put simply, undocumented women are not people for constitutional purposes.’”
The dehumanization and subsequent crusade to strip these women of their rights reveals to us the cornerstone of this administration’s ambitions. Even though the the ACLU and the judges who ruled in favor of the immigrant teens rights succeeded in providing them with the medical attention they were requesting, the Supreme Court has made it so that their success is rendered moot in future proceedings. In other words, the ACLU is going to have to fight for the rights of every immigrant teenager on a case by case basis until the Supreme Court accepts the precedent that should already exist for women. The precedent being, women should have the right to choose.