ACLU Asks Appeals Court To Reconsider Ruling Delaying Abortion For Undocumented Teen

Pauline Gross
October 24, 2017

Doe was still in the first trimester of her pregnancy at the time.

In an official response, attorneys defending the Trump administration urged judges to deny the petition, arguing the Court of Appeals will have the opportunity to review the decision after the October 31 deadline if Jane Doe, as she's referred to in court filings, isn't assigned a sponsor by then.

Stewart argued the teen was free to return to her home country and get an abortion there, but the judged challenged him on whether the government had a constitutional right to single out abortions and block immigrants in custody from undergoing the procedure. Texas bans most abortions after 20 weeks. "We're not putting an obstacle in her path", the Washington Post reported HHS attorney Catherine H. Dorsey told the court panel Friday. The Government argues that this process - by which a minor is released from HHS custody to a sponsor - does not unduly burden the minor's right under Supreme Court to an abortion.

The ORR also announced in March that federally funded shelters were prohibited from taking "any action that facilitates" abortion for minors without Lloyd's explicit "direction and approval", including "scheduling appointments, transportation, or other arrangement". "All defendants must do is to step aside and stop blocking the door". The ACLU has not released her nationality to preserve her privacy.

"Weeks have passed with no resolution for Jane Doe", said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

Robert Carey, a former director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at HHS, testified to the government's complicated sponsorship protocol in a declaration submitted with Sunday's petition. "But there sure are losers". "Accordingly, it is my opinion that weakening any of these procedures to expedite the release of a pregnant minor to a sponsor who is neither the minor's parent, legal guardian or close family relative would risk setting a risky precedent".

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He said the ACLU is using the vulnerable young woman's case to try to "create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the US illegally". Millett wrote that the girl "has already been forced by the government to continue an unwanted pregnancy for nearly four weeks, and now, as a result of this order, must continue to carry that pregnancy for multiple more weeks". Two of the minors whose cases are summarized in the memo, which was shared with HuffPost, said they had been raped, but in both instances the officials casted doubt on their stories, writing that the 17-year-olds had initially said their pregnancy resulted from consensual sex. As Slate concludes in its analysis of the DOJ's position, "This argument is merely another way of stating that women like Doe have no right to an abortion in the United States".

They say the teen, who is from Central America, was abused by her parents and can not easily return home.

The fact that HHS officials had sent the young woman to abortion counseling against her will but were unwilling to comply with her desire for an abortion apparently irked Judge Chutkan.

According to court documents, the girl entered the United States without her parents sometime in late September. "The Statue of Liberty's promise to those "homeless" "yearning to breathe free" is not a lie".

"There are no winners in cases like these", said Judge Patricia Millet in a 10-page dissenting opinion.

"J.D. came to the United States without legal documentation", she wrote. And, unfortunately, other women and girls desperate to escape abuse, sexual trafficking, and forced prostitution undoubtedly will also find themselves on our shores and pregnant.

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