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15th Jul 2022

Woman asked if she had an abortion before being deported from the US

Ellen Fitzpatrick

She was going for a connecting flight.

A woman from Australia has revealed that she was asked if she had had an abortion by immigration officers in the US following the overturning of Roe v Wade.

Madolline Gourley, 32, from Brisbane, Australia was travelling from Los Angeles to Canada on June 30th when she was asked the question before being deported back to her home country.

Explaining to officers that she was heading to Canada to cat sit in exchange for free accommodation, it went wrong when the officer “didn’t bother to look” at her luggage tag that explained she was going for a connecting flight.

Madolline was travelling from LA to Philadelphia and then onto Montreal, having originally travelled from Brisbane but wasn’t issued connecting boarding passes in Australia.

The 32 year old was then questioned about her travels, photographed and fingerprinted and eventually searched by a female officer who asked the abortion question.

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 asked was she pregnant, she said no but then the officer followed up by asking had she 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?'” Madolline added.

Madolline was then stopped from getting her connecting flight to Canada and forced to return to Brisbane as she was told she had breached the visa waiver programme.

Travel State Gov says 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 adds that people need to get 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”, which Australia is under.

Madolline had issues as the US can ban people entering the country due to engaging in “any type of employment or get compensation for services rendered.”

As she was cat sitting, she was subject to this despite claims she had been able to travel through the US before for this reason.