Will Having an Abortion Stop You from Immigrating to the United States?


Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization recently overturned Roe v. Wade. Thanks to “trigger laws,” abortion became illegal in multiple states. It remains legal here in Pennsylvania, but that status could change. 

The abortion issue recently made immigration news when US border officials asked an Australian tourist if she’d ever had an abortion. She was being detained at the time, and CBP claims the question was asked to determine if there were specific health needs they needed to meet. They also claim the question is supposed to be about pregnancy loss, that is, stillbirths or miscarriages that could indicate medical issues, and not abortion.

Nevertheless, the question was asked, raising the specter of whether or not there would be a great deal of intersection between abortion law and immigration law in the near future. 

Getting an abortion in any of those states could lead to a felony conviction, which could make you ineligible for immigration benefits. 

In addition, “Good Moral Character” is required for many immigration benefits. An abortion could be used against a woman seeking those benefits. The application of this could come down to the opinions and views of individual judges.

So, what should you do?

If you had a legal abortion in your own country or in a state where abortion is legal at some point in the past, then you do not necessarily have to disclose that abortion. Immigration forms if you’ve ever been arrested for a crime or convicted of a crime. They do not ask if you ever took an action that was legal at the time but is illegal now. Forms can change, of course, but as of right now there are ways to ensure the question simply does not come up.

If you are seeking an abortion now you should work closely with your immigration attorney before making any moves. You will want to be sure that it is legal when you do so and that it is unlikely to impact your current immigration case in any way. While it may not feel fair that you have to take all of these extra steps, immigration law is a minefield and “fairness” isn’t always the first concern of lawmakers at any level. 

Immigration law changes swiftly, so it’s important to work with an attorney who will stay on top of it and who will help you respond to any changes that might impact your specific case. 

Need help? Contact Hykel Law today. 

See also:

What You Need to Know About “Good Moral Character” in Your Immigration Case 

5 Steps to a Smoother Immigration Process

How Much Does an Immigration Lawyer Cost?

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