On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration could not block two teenage illegal immigrants from obtaining abortions.
The ruling marked a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union, which had filed to keep the government from blocking abortion access for the two pregnant girls. Documents were filed last week by the ACLU in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of the girls, who are both 17. The girls were simply identified as Jane Roe and Jane Poe.
These documents asked for a temporary restraining order against the defendants (government officials and entities) to keep them from “interfering with or obstructing Ms. Roe’s and Ms. Poe’s access to abortion.”
The restraining order was also being requested to prevent defendants from forcing or coercing the girls to receive “‘counseling’ from an anti-abortion entity, including a crisis pregnancy center or ‘pregnancy resource center’ either before or after their abortions,” requiring the girls to notify anyone of their abortion, convincing the girls to carry the children to full term, retaliating against the teenagers following the abortions, or disclosing the pregnancies or abortions to anyone.
The Department of Health and Human Services condemned the ruling, stating, “We are deeply disappointed in the decision to grant a temporary restraining order that will compel HHS to facilitate abortions for minors when they are not medically necessary.”
The statement went on to point out that a “pregnant minor who has entered the country illegally has the option to voluntarily depart to her home country or identify a suitable sponsor. HHS-funded facilities that provide temporary shelter and care for unaccompanied alien minors should not become way stations for these children to get taxpayer-facilitated abortions.”
Although the judge granted the ACLU’s request for a temporary restraining order, the ruling was put on a 24-hour hold to give the government a chance to file for a stay in an appeals court.
“The judge’s decision is a reminder that both the law and justice are on our side,” stated Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU senior staff attorney. “We’ve already seen the courts rule in favor of Jane Doe, and today justice prevailed for two more young women like her.”
The New York Times reports that in the 2017 fiscal year, 420 pregnant teenage illegal immigrants have entered the United States without their parents. Of those 420, 18 have requested abortions, with 11 receiving them while under the custody of the government.