Originally published by The Hill
Jane Poe, the pseudonym of a 17-year old girl who crossed the U.S. border from Mexico, and who is a victim of rape and became pregnant, is also the GOP’s immigration and anti-choice scapegoat. This group of men have shown us time and again they have no regard for women’s autonomy over our own bodies, but Jane Poe’s case is an abhorrent abuse of power.
First, they attempted to block Jane from getting the procedure, which was subsequently overturned by a U.S. District Judge. Then days before the New Year, Lloyd and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), sought to disclose Poe’s abortion status to a family member who had threatened “to beat her” if she went through with the procedure.
Not only is there no legal rationale to disclose such information, as it is a blatant conflict with Jane’s right to privacy, Lloyd’s ORR is in direct conflict with the constitution itself, which grants both Jane Roe and Jane Poe the right to receive an abortion without fear of retributions.
But what Trump’s administration has shown over the past year is that it is an administration of retribution, and the battle of retribution is fought across the bodies of women.
Donald Trump and his administration seek retributions against those who are most vulnerable in our communities by seeking to control whatever part of them they can.
While Jane Poe and Jane Roe were positioned to be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term by Scott Lloyd and the ORR and DOJ.
Immigrant women and women of color have been systematically subjected to fertility control measures, including forced sterilizations, restrictions that target low income women-like the Hyde Amendment- in America.
In most states today, immigrants who have been in the United States for less than five years — regardless of their legal status — are denied Medicaid coverage for essential reproductive health care. This includes, prenatal care and birth control, preventative care, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment and culturally and linguistically competent services, despite the fact that they pay taxes. Even with the monetary commitment of taxes, the bottom line is that immigrants and their families aren’t given equal services or benefits.
Policies like these are used to control women’s autonomy by restricting reproductive access or by engendering a culture of fear and retributive policies against those who seek equality and dignity.
Immigrants have been used as pawns and bargaining chips in the United States for far too long, and women’s bodies are used as test tubes and battle grounds. Imagine being in those crosshairs.
Right now, the President and the GOP are at odds trying to formulate an immigration policy without input or thought to the people and lives their policies affect.
When moving forward, I hope Democrats recognize that immigrants and Dreamers are not bargaining chips, and that working with the President on immigration means fighting for justice and equality for DACA recipients and for all immigrants.
The choice to continue a pregnancy is a deeply personal one. But for undocumented women, imagine weighing the options between motherhood and deportation. The people who are blocking young women from getting abortions are the same people who want to break-up families through deportation tactics.
Anti-choice policies always target the most marginalized group to restrict access so thoroughly as to completely block access to abortion services. The Trump administration, particularly the ORR under Director Lloyd, has been clear that this is actually what they aim to do.
Immigration reform and reproductive Justice are intrinsically tied into our constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So, for all the Jane's out there, we support you, we trust you and we are with you. We won’t stop fighting for justice for all.
Julie A. Burkhart is the founder and CEO of Trust Women Foundation. Trust Women opens clinics that provide abortion care in underserved communities so that all women can make their own decisions about their healthcare. Follow her on Twitter @julieburkhart.