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Women’s Refugee Commission Applauds Biden Administration for Protecting Abortion Care for Unaccompanied Youth

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Biden administration yesterday released policy guidance that directs shelters for unaccompanied children and the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to protect access to abortion and reproductive health care for unaccompanied youth in U.S. government custody.

In August, the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) and four other organizations led a letter to the Biden administration that detailed 18 specific and concrete actions to durably protect the rights of pregnant girls and teens. More than 40 national women’s rights, children’s rights, and health care organizations signed the letter. Yesterday’s guidance moves ORR policy toward completion of those steps, including the first eight steps detailed in the letter.

Following the release of the guidance, Mario Bruzzone, senior policy advisor in the Migrant Rights and Justice program at WRC, stated:

“The Women’s Refugee Commission applauds ORR’s new policy as real leadership in protecting the right to abortion. The Biden administration took important steps protecting access to abortion care if pregnant teens so decide, as well as ensuring better quality of reproductive care for all pregnancies.

“Teens who arrive in the U.S. pregnant and alone should be able to control their own bodies and make their own reproductive decisions. Young people suffer horrific violence at home or during their journeys to the U.S., often including rape and sexual abuse. Access to high-quality reproductive health care – including the right to decide to terminate a pregnancy – is fundamental to all. I urge the Biden administration to continue with further measures to cement the right to abortion care for unaccompanied youth in the future.”