The federal court finally ruled to allow an undocumented immigrant teenager to have an abortion, according The Washington Post. If you haven’t been following “Jane Doe’s” story, she’s a 17-year-old who has been placed in federal custody in Texas since September. The New York Times reports that the teen was taken into the government-funded shelter after she was already nine weeks pregnant.
The Washington Post notes that the teen had been denied access to an abortion because she’s an unaccompanied minor (which is a new law under the Trump administration.) Apparently, the current administration feels more comfortable forcing unaccompanied minors, who may not be emotional and/or financially stable enough to have children, to remain pregnant and/or give birth to children than it does to allow them access to safe abortions.
CNN explains that while the Trump administration denied the teen’s request for an abortion, the teen’s case was sent to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided to reverse the Trump administration’s order to find a sponsor for the teen. If the Court of Appeals hadn’t moved so swiftly to overturn the Trump administration’s decision, it could have taken months for the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to find an appropriate sponsor for the teen.
After the federal court’s decision, the teen was sent to an abortion center in Texas without any further delays, The Washington Post explains. This was still cutting it pretty close on timing because the teen is nearly 16 weeks pregnant, as Dallas News notes, and in Texas you cannot get an abortion after 20 weeks (unless of course the pregnancy threats the woman’s life or the fetus has a fatal condition.)
The teen’s American Civil Liberties Union Lawyer, Brigitte Amiri, told The Washington Post, “We should never have had to go all the way to a full appellate court to say what we know is the law: that the government can’t ban abortion for anybody.”
Because Jane Doe is an immigrant seeking asylum in the United States and is being protected by a government facility in Texas, it’s uplifting to see that the Court of Appeals decided to allow the teen to terminate her pregnancy (which she has every right to do, according to the constitution.)