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Office of Refugee Resettlement requires director's approval of abortions for unaccompanied children in detention shelters

  1. Original Date Announced

    March 4, 2017

    The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) issues a memo prohibiting federally funded detention shelters from taking "any action that facilitates" abortion for unaccompanied children without written approval from the director of ORR.

    [ID #255]

    ORR Memo: ORR custodial decisions to preserve the health of a pregnant UAC
  2. Effective Date

    March 4, 2017
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    October 1, 2021

    re: Field Guidance 21: Compliance with Garza Requirements for Pregnant Unaccompanied Children in Texas

    On October 1, 2021, the Administration for Children & Families within the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) published new guidance to ORR staff on intakes, placement, and transfers of unaccompanied migrant children who are pregnant, including when care providers in Texas discover that an unaccompanied child in their care and custody is pregnant.

    View Document
  5. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    November 10, 2022

    Field Guidance #21 – Compliance with Garza Requirements and Procedures for Unaccompanied Children Needing Reproductive Healthcare

    On November 10, 2022, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) published new guidance aimed at ensuring that unaccompanied migrant children in ORR's care can access abortion care. The guidance instructs officials to avoid placing children who are pregnant or victims of sexual assault in states with abortion bans. If a child lives in a state with an abortion ban, and requests access to abortion services, the guidance directs officials to take all reasonable efforts to transfer the child to a state where abortion care is lawful and available.

    View Document

Current Status

Not in effect

Most Recent Action

November 10, 2022 Action: Revoked/Replaced Field Guidance #21 – Compliance with Garza Requirements and Procedures for Unaccompanied Children Needing Reproductive Healthcare
October 1, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration
November 10, 2022
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Trump Administration Action: Agency Directive
Subject Matter: Detention Minors
Agencies Affected: ORR

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • March 21, 2008

    When a grantee learns that a UAC has been advised by a doctor to undergo or wishes to seek medical services requiring heightened ORR involvement (i.e., significant surgical or medical procedures, abortions, and services that may threaten the life of the UAC), the grantee must follow the procedures for Significant Incident Documentation and Reporting at section 1.03 and for Medical Services at section 3.04 In additional, the grantee must immediately call the DUCS Director and provide all available details about the situation.

    March 21, 2008 memorandum, "Medical Services Requiring Heightened ORR Involvement"


  • Second Legal Battle Over Abortion Rights for Immigrant Teens Takes Unexpected Turns

    The ACLU in Garza v. Hargan is challenging the government's premise that allowing young women to leave shelters to get abortion care is tantamount to facilitating an abortion.

    Go to article

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