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Woman Asked By US Border Official If She'd Had An Abortion Before Being Deported

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Woman Asked By US Border Official If She'd Had An Abortion Before Being Deported

A woman has revealed that she was asked whether or not she'd had an abortion before being deported from the US after Roe V Wade.

Madolline Gourley, 32, from Brisbane, Australia, said that she was asked the question as she travelled through Los Angeles to Canada on June 30.

She explained that her trip to Canada, where she was planning to cat sit in exchange for free accommodation, went wrong when the immigration officer 'didn't bother to look' at the luggage receipt explaining that she was taking connecting flights.

Gourley was traveling to cat sit. Credit: Supplied / UNILAD
Gourley was traveling to cat sit. Credit: Supplied / UNILAD
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Gourley told UNILAD: "He got mad I couldn't show the boarding passes for [LA Airport] to [Philadelphia International Airport] or [Philadelphia] to Montreal.

"I realise a luggage/baggage receipt is not a proper boarding pass, but that's because I wasn't issued connecting boarding passes when I checked in at Brisbane International Airport in Australia.

"I offered to show an email from American Airlines with the booking info - he wasn't interested in that either."

The 32-year-old was then questioned twice about her travels by an officer, photographed and fingerprinted, and then physically searched by a female officer who went on to ask if she'd recently had an abortion.

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She told Guardian Australia: "She was walking me from one room to the next, and she asked the pregnancy question again. I don't know if she had forgotten, or she wanted to work out if I was lying or something."

When she explained that she was not pregnant, she was asked if she had 'recently had an abortion'.

"I don't know the thought process behind that… I just thought, 'What's the relevance of that to my situation?'" Gourley stated.

Women are now campaigning for abortion rights. Credit: Alamy.
Women are now campaigning for abortion rights. Credit: Alamy.
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Gourley was ultimately prevented from taking her connecting flight to Canada and was forced to return to Brisbane as she had breached the visa waiver programme.

Travel State Gov reports that it exists to allow 'most citizens or nationals of participating countries* to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa'.

It dictates that people need to obtain a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) and be a citizen or national 'of a VWP designated country' and in possession of the 'correct type of passport'.

The clause which Gourley fell short on was the one banning people from engaging in 'any type of employment or get compensation for services rendered'.

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This includes cat-sitting, despite the fact that Gourley claims she was able to travel through the US for this purpose before.

Gourley was repeatedly asked if she was pregnant. Credit: Supplied / UNILAD
Gourley was repeatedly asked if she was pregnant. Credit: Supplied / UNILAD

The 32-year-old is now sharing her story to warn others of the treatment that they could now receive in the US if they have a similar issue when travelling.

"Even if you've got all the relevant documentation and a flight back home, sometimes that's still not good enough. Sometimes immigration just don't want to listen," she said.

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A CBP spokesperson told UNILAD of her treatment: "CBP regrets any inconvenience or unpleasantness a passenger may have experienced during his/her CBP processing.

"We take allegations of unprofessional behaviour seriously. CBP has standard procedures for handling allegations of misconduct. If we confirm employee misconduct, we will take firm and appropriate action to correct the situation."

If you have been affected by abortion, help is available in the UK through the Abortion Recovery Care & Helpline on 0345 603 8501.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Topics: Sex and Relationships

Emma Guinness
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