National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum on J.D. v. Azar

Washington, DC — On June 14, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion that largely upheld a preliminary injunction prohibiting the government from denying unaccompanied immigrant minors in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) access to abortion.

NAPAWF, in conjunction with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, filed an amicus brief in this case, joined by 34 diverse organizations committed to reproductive health, rights, and justice for women and for all people. The brief, in applying a human rights and reproductive justice analysis, demonstrated that ORR’s actions violate unaccompanied immigrant minors’ fundamental rights by effectively denying access to abortion altogether.

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum Executive Director Sung Yeon Choimorrow issued the following statement in response: 

“The D.C. Circuit’s opinion sustaining the preliminary injunction confirms what we already know to be true: the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) policy of banning abortion access for unaccompanied immigrant minors in government custody is an unconstitutional denial of the fundamental right to abortion. It is cruel and inhumane and a violation of the Janes’—the plaintiffs in this case—constitutional and human rights. 

“ORR’s ban is just a continuation of the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda—one that strips power from immigrants by taking away their control over what happens to themselves and their families. This is reproductive coercion, plain and simple. 

“Decisions about whether and when to have children are deeply personal expressions of individual agency, implicating core liberty, privacy, and dignity interests. Reproductive justice demands that unaccompanied immigrant minors be able to fully exercise their right to make these decisions themselves. 

“We applaud the decision of the D.C. Circuit. It is an important victory, as it secures unaccompanied immigrant minors access to abortion care and autonomous reproductive decision making. NAPAWF will continue fighting for the agency of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and immigrants 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 their reproductive freedom when it comes to their own lives."