Published: Fri, October 20, 2017
Culture&Arts | By Hattie Nash

Appeals court halts order allowing abortion for teenage immigrant detainee

Appeals court halts order allowing abortion for teenage immigrant detainee

The Trump Administration is using a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant to announce a sweeping anti-abortion stance. "Even if she must choose between leaving the United States and the ability to seek an abortion", forcing that choice would not violate her rights "because Ms. Doe, as an illegal alien, has no legitimate right to remain in the United States", they wrote.

Since President Donald Trump took office, policies toward undocumented young people seeking abortions have changed. It began two weeks ago, when the teenage girl, living in a Brownsville federal shelter for undocumented and unaccompanied minors, requested a legal abortion.

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the government to allow a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant, who was detained after entering the country illegally, to undergo an abortion. But the government is appealing the ruling, and Doe's future remains uncertain. That's when the ACLU got involved. That included scheduling appointments or transportation or arranging for minors to get counseling that included information about abortion.

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Jane Doe's lawyer, Brigitte Amiri, who is a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, told Politico, "There is a pattern of unconstitutional overreach of power in a minor's abortion decision".

"Jane Doe is a courageous and persistent young woman who has already been forced by the Trump administration to delay her abortion for weeks".

The teen, whose name and country of origin have been withheld because she's a minor, has already received a state court order permitting her to have the abortion.

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A judge's demand - under threat of a contempt citation - that USA government officials provide a taxpayer-funded abortion to an illegal alien teenager has been temporarily halted. "Four of those were government-funded - suggesting they were cases such as rape or incest, which are the exceptions in law that allow for taxpayer funding".

Doe is not the only minor who's been affected by the policy, the ACLU said. She had obtained permission from a Texas judge to have the abortion and planned to cover expenses on her own or through the help of her court-appointed guardian. 'The government is holding her hostage so that she will be forced to carry to term against her will'.

The judge pointed out that the federal workers took the teenager, against her wishes, to a Christian pregnancy facility for counseling, which was created to change her mind about the abortion, and also informed her mother about the pregnancy.

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But within hours of the lower court ruling, Department of Justice lawyers asked that the lower court ruling be put on hold, arguing that Doe still has a number of weeks to end her pregnancy. She had been going to the doctor in preparation and had jumped through all the hoops needed to obtain an abortion as a minor in Texas - like getting a judge's approval of the decision. The government sent her to a "crisis pregnancy center", a religiously affiliated organization that tried to discourage her from having an abortion. "Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions", said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton yesterday while leading an 8-state coalition that filed an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in support of the federal government's refusal to comply with an unlawfully-present minor alien's request to have an abortion in Texas.

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