Supreme Court Ruling on Immigrant Abortion Is a Small (But Important) Victory

June 11, 2018

by Kelvey Vander Hart


The U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned a court ruling that allowed a teenager who was in the country illegally to receive an abortion while being held in American custody.

Referred to only as Jane Doe, the pregnant 17-year-old had crossed the border in Texas illegally and was apprehended. While in custody, she requested an abortion but was told it was not an option and that if she wanted to abort her unborn child, she could be willingly deported.

Thus started a month-long legal battle. “This is my life, my decision. I want a better future. I want justice,” demanded Doe in a written statement. Last October, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the teenager being able to abort her child while in custody.

The abortion then took place the next morning. However, the legal battle was not over.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling of the Court of Appeals based on misinformation from the American Civil Liberties Union (representing Jane Doe) on the length of the pregnancy at the time of abortion. Vacating the case will no longer impact Doe, but it does mean that this specific legal battle cannot be cited and used to build an argument for similar scenarios in the future.

This new legal turn hints at a promising future for the pro-life cause. While pro-life legislation has been passed all over the country in recent years, a source of frustration has always been the pro-abortion actions of the judiciary.

While a small step, overturning this immigration case is certainly a step in the right direction. The pro-life community should applaud any defense of life that comes from the courts, especially when that action is disallowing government sanctioned abortion.

It is especially encouraging that this case is now unable to be used as precedent for similar cases. Some of the most damaging pro-abortion rulings of the past several years have built on similar previous cases. Removing a building block sends pro-abortion activists back to square one in this arena, and the difference is counted in lives saved.

Pro-lifers still have a long, grueling legal battle ahead of us in the effort to get Roe v. Wade overturned, but any pro-life action from the courts is a small, inspiring glimmer of hope.


Kelvey Vander Hart is passionate about Jesus, conservatism, fitness, and fantastic coffee; she is also the Associate Editor at Caffeinated Thoughts. She can be followed on Twitter @kovanderhart.

Archive: Kelvey Vander Hart