Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Appeals Court Paves the Way for Migrant Teen to Get an Abortion

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 Trump Administration Routinely Blocks Unaccompanied Minors From Obtaining Abortions
Lillian Steele | 25 October, 2017, 01:00

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Jane Doe, argued the government was violating her constitutional right to an abortion.

The Department of Health and Human Services has jurisdiction over the welfare of unaccompanied minors who are caught crossing the border.

If due process protections did not apply to undocumented immigrants, as D.C. Circuit Judge Patricia Millett pointed out, "they could be forced to have abortions".

The ACLU filed an emergency petition Sunday seeking the intervention. They also reaffirmed that the teenager has the option of returning to her home country to seek an abortion and that the federal government doesn't need to facilitate her abortion.

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser called it "a case which would incentivize an abortion-import business for illegal immigrant minor girls in defiance of state laws". It claims that it doesn't want to "facilitate" J.D.'s abortion, but J.D.'s court-appointed guardians are ready to transport her to the clinic and pay for the procedure. However the ORR-contracted shelter where she is being housed, and at the federal office's direction, refused to transport her to the appointment. Every additional week the government delays her abortion increases the risks associated with the procedure.

Instead, federal officials required J.D.to undergo counseling at a religiously affiliated, anti-abortion center.

The teen's fate has bounced around the court system for weeks. Weeks ago she chose to end her pregnancy, and obtained permission from a state court judge to do so, but federal officials have refused to allow her to leave the clinic to obtain the abortion. The panel originally gave the Department of Health and Human Services until October 31 to secure a sponsor for Doe, who would take custody of her and transport her to an abortion facility. He wrote that the case was "novel and highly fraught" and that he thought the panel of three judges made the right decision. Eastern Time on October 31 to secure a sponsor for the girl to whom she could be released.

"The entire process involves many steps, including: 'the identification of sponsors; the submission by a sponsor of the application for release and supporting documentation; the evaluation of the suitability of the sponsor, including verification of the sponsor's identity and relationship to the child, background checks, and in some cases home studies; and planning for post-release, '" the declaration says.

The ACLU wasn't the only one unhappy with Friday's ruling. In Texas, where she is in government custody, abortion is illegal after 20 weeks.

"The government is causing her irreparable harm" by forcing her to remain pregnant against her will, plaintiff attorney Rochelle Garza said during oral arguments on Friday.

In the emergency petition filed Sunday night, the ACLU states that "our government has held her in this unlawful position for nearly a month; this Court should not allow this injustice to continue any longer".

"No federal court has ever declared that unlawfully-present aliens with no ties to this country have a constitutional right to abortion on demand, they write".

"The majority seems to think that the United States has no good reason to want to transfer an unlawful immigrant minor to an immigration sponsor before the minor has an abortion".

A spokesman for HHS's Administration for Children and Families said in a statement Friday that the office will "protect the well-being of this minor and all children and their babies in our facilities, and we will defend human dignity for all in our care".

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