ACLU wants order allowing 17-year-old undocumented teen to have abortion

By Dave Andrusko

Federal District Judge Laurel Beeler

Federal District Judge Laurel Beeler is hearing an emergency request from the ACLU of Northern California to order the Office of Refugee Resettlement to allow a pregnant undocumented teenager–“Jane Doe”–to leave ORR custody to have an abortion.

The ACLU’s request for a temporary restraining order allowing the abortion to go forward is opposed by the Trump Administration, Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, and six other attorneys general—from Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

“No federal court has ever declared that unlawfully-present aliens with no substantial ties to this country have a constitutional right to abortion on demand,” Paxton said. “If ‘Doe’ prevails in this case, the ruling will create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the U.S. illegally. And with that right, countless others undoubtedly would follow. Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions.”

Paxton added most importantly, “The states have a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life, as well as an interest in promoting respect for human life at all stages in the pregnancy.”

The case of “Mary Doe,” who is from Central America and was pregnant when she entered the country unaccompanied, is part of a larger attempt by the ACLU to change administration policy. According to Slate Magazine, in March the ORR “announced that federally funded shelters are barred from taking ‘any action that facilitates’ abortion for these unaccompanied minors without ‘direction and approval’ from ORR Director Scott Lloyd.” Instead pregnant undocumented girls are taken to crisis pregnancy centers.

According to Chuck Lindell of the Statesman, today’s hearing is in San Francisco “because the ACLU is seeking to add Jane Doe’s case to an existing lawsuit challenging Trump administration contracts with U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops-affiliated agencies to provide care to unaccompanied immigrant minors. The original lawsuit “argues that the agencies are violating a federal law requiring them to provide minors with access to contraception and abortion.”