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

Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion outside of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington Friday

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

Catherine Glenn Foster, President of Americans United for Life, said that the group "is thankful that the federal appeals court avoided a sweeping constitutional ruling that would have mandated that taxpayer dollars be spent in violation of the Hyde Amendment by forcing government employees to accompany an undocumented teen girl as she obtained a second-trimester abortion". She's in her 15th week of pregnancy.

A White House statement said the Trump administration "stands ready to expedite her return to her home country".

She is being held at a facility in Texas administered under a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for sheltering children who illegally enter the United States unaccompanied by a parent.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the D.C. Court of Appeals Sunday to re-hear the case of Jane Doe, an unaccompanied minor who is seeking an abortion in Texas which HHS officials have declined to facilitate. (RELATED: Ruling On Whether Illegal Teen Can Get Abortion In America Hangs In The Balance). If that happens, she could obtain an abortion if she chooses.

The ruling comes after D.C.'s Court of Appeals temporarily blocked a judge's ruling last week, allowing the detained immigrant to have an abortion, according to NPR.

Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and SC all aligned their support behind the federal government's view, writing in supporting briefs "there will be no meaningful limit on the constitutional rights an unlawfully-present alien can invoke simply by trying to enter this country" in reference to if Doe is allowed an abortion as Judge Chutkan ruled.

In a two-page order, Kavanaugh and Judge Karen Henderson, both of whom were appointed by Republican presidents, joined to say that if a sponsor is found by October 31 and the teen released, the government agrees she "will be lawfully able, if she chooses, to obtain an abortion on her own pursuant to the relevant state law".

Court records show that on March 30, Scott Lloyd - the office's director - said in an email that federally funded shelters "should not be supporting abortion services pre or post-release; only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling". "The court has turned a blind eye to the true injustice of abortion, set a deadline for the death of a child, and risked turning the US - one of the few countries in the world to allow late-term abortions - into a destination for abortion-seekers". "But there sure are losers", Millett wrote in her dissent. Two judges on the panel seem reluctant to cast what is happening in the girl's case as an undue burden and did not address the argument that HHS's refusal to hand her over so she can have an abortion is an undue burden, said Cahill, who focuses on matters where family law and constitutional law intersect.

Lawyers for the government argue that it isn't obligated to help her get an abortion because the administration wants to promote child birth and fetal life.

During oral arguments, the judges questioned the government's stance, noting that undocumented immigrants in other types of federal custody - including adults in immigration detention and federal prisons - may seek elective abortions at their own expense.

"The government has been under a statutory obligation to attempt to find an appropriate sponsor for more than six weeks and thus far none has been found", the petition states. 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".

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