Battle continues over abortions for undocumented, unaccompanied teenagers

As of October 17, 43 pregnant illegal immigrant girls in HHS custody

By Dave Andrusko

A constant thread throughout the tragic story of an undocumented pregnant teenager who aborted her 16-week-old baby, was that for the ACLU, the role of “Jane Doe” was to make it impossible to prevent unaccompanied pregnant minors from coming into this country and aborting their babies. Indeed the ACLU has filed a class action suit arguing that undocumented teenagers have the same rights to access abortion that Americans have.

The continuing significance of this legal challenge was illustrated this week by a story in The Washington Times. Stephen Dinan reported, “The surge of illegal immigrant children crossing the border also means a surge of pregnant girls in U.S. custody, according to new government figures made public late Monday, highlighting the latest test of Trump administration policies.”

According to Dinan

At least 420 pregnant Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) have been caught and put into government care over the last year, and 43 pregnant illegal immigrant girls were still in custody of the Health and Human Services Department as of Oct. 17, Jonathan White, the department’s director for children’s programs, said in court documents.

Of the 420 girls seen in fiscal year 2017, 18 requested abortions and 11 had them. Another five rescinded their request for an abortion, and two were turned over to sponsors in the U.S. before a final decision was made, Mr. White said, meaning they were outside of government custody.

He added, “The Trump administration is vehemently fighting the ACLU, saying that as of right now there are no pregnant girls in government custody seeking abortions so there’s no need for a class action lawsuit.”

As NRL News Today reported, Jane Doe aborted her baby October 25, the day after the full D.C. Court of Appeals ruled in her favor, 6-3. Based on a the 29-page petition for review, filed with the Supreme Court in early November, the Trump administration clearly believes the ACLU behaved improperly.

Amy Howe reported the federal government

asked the justices to vacate the D.C. Circuit’s ruling, which would mean that the decision would no longer serve as legal precedent. And in a highly unusual move, the government also suggested that the justices should sanction Doe’s attorneys for misconduct that, the government argued, thwarted it from seeking Supreme Court review of the decision in the first place.

What had happened? The petition argues that

“By their own acknowledgement, respondent’s counsel shared that understanding”–that is, “that the appointment rescheduled for the morning of October 25 would be for counseling, with an abortion to follow no earlier than the morning of October 26.” [My underline.]

During the Jane Doe controversy, the Trump administration insisted it would not “facilitate” her abortion. Even if, as was the case with Jane Doe, she had arranged funding for the abortion, “HHS said even then, it was required to send a staffer with the girl, and to provide care afterward, which all involved taxpayer money facilitating an abortion — something the government said broke the law,” Dinan explained.