By Dave Andrusko
As her new book, “Just a Journalist” makes abundantly clear, former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse never let anything as arcane, so out-of-date as impartiality get in the way of advancing the cause of abortion during her long, long career as a powerful reporter.
She wrote opinion pieces masked as news stories and was proud of it. Nowadays she is formally ensconced as an opinion writer, so she is free to crank up the hysteria meter a few more notches.
Which brings us to “The Worrisome Future of Abortion Rights,” which appeared yesterday in the Times.
Its focus is the “Jane Doe” case in which the ACLU arguably lied to the Justice Department in order to facilitate the abortion of a 17-year-old undocumented, unaccompanied teenager from Central America. Greenhouse covers a ton of issues and to try to address even many of them would require twice as many words as her 2,454 word-long-essay. Here are four points.
#1. The Trump administration this week filed documents that Jane Doe “is now seeking mental health treatment.” They have “asked a judge [a reference to U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan] to be freed from a gag order so the girl’s doctors, and any future sponsor who takes the girl from a government-run shelter, can be told of the abortion, saying it’s an important part of her history,“ reported the Washington Times’ Alex Swoyer.
It was Judge Chutkan who on October 18 ordered the government to allow Jane Doe to proceed in having an abortion. It was Judge Chutkan who hours after the DC Court of Appeals ruling who ordered the government to “promptly and without delay” transport the teen to a Texas abortion provider. Jane Doe aborted the next day, October 25.
So perhaps all of Greenhouse’s condescending remarks are off-base. Perhaps, as the Trump administration argued, it would have been in the girl’s best interests to find a sponsor prior to aborting.
As D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote in his dissent
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. But consider the circumstances here. The minor is alone and without family or friends. She is in a U.S. Government detention facility in a country that, for her, is foreign. She is 17 years old. She is pregnant and has to make a major life decision. Is it really absurd for the United States to think that the minor should be transferred to her immigration sponsor – ordinarily a family member, relative, or friend – before she makes that decision?
#2. Greenhouse tells us, “The abortion came after weeks of delay, after Jane Doe was forced to attend a counseling session at an anti-abortion ‘crisis pregnancy center’ and as the pregnancy was approaching the 20-week limit for a legal abortion in Texas.” Jane Doe was approximately 16 weeks pregnant.
#3. Greenhouse writes, “Last week, he [Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco] filed a wildly improbable Supreme Court appeal, asking the justices to vacate as moot the appeals court’s decision and, while they’re at it, to impose sanctions on Jane Doe’s A.C.L.U. attorneys for getting their client her abortion before the Trump administration could run to the Supreme Court with an emergency appeal.”
If what Francisco wrote is true, he was obliged to file the appeal.
The 29-page petition for review (signed by Francisco and Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall) asked the justices to vacate the D.C. Circuit’s ruling, which would mean that the decision would no longer serve as legal precedent. Why is that important? Jane Doe was just a pawn in the ACLU’s chess game, the objective of which is to open the way for any undocumented teenager who can make her way to the United States to abort.
Moreover, “the ACLU misled the United States as to the timing of Jane Doe’s abortion,” according to Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley
The petition specifically asserts
The government planned to seek an emergency stay from this Court before Ms. Doe could obtain an abortion. In light of counsel’s representations that no abortion would take place until October 26, the government informed this Court and respondent’s counsel that it would file an emergency application for a stay on the morning of October 25. Sometime later that evening, Ms. Doe’s appointment was changed so that instead of obtaining counseling at 7:30 a.m. on October 25, she would undergo an abortion at 4:15 a.m. that morning, just hours before the government planned to file its stay application. Respondent’s representatives did not notify the government or the shelter of the changed nature of the appointment.
Hardly a trivial matter. And
#4. Greenhouse quotes Judge Patricia Millett who wrote about not blocking ”women and girls” who came to this country “without proper documentation” from “the exercise of a constitutional right [to abort].”
An unaccompanied minor entering illegally is the whole point, isn’t it? Here’s how Judge Karen L. Henderson, who along with Judge Kavanaugh had wanted to give the government time to find a sponsor, dissented from the full court of appeals decision. She wrote
Does an alien minor who attempts to enter the United States eight weeks pregnant—and who is immediately apprehended and then in custody for 36 days between arriving and filing a federal suit—have a constitutional right to an elective abortion? …. [A]t least to me the answer is plainly— and easily—no. To conclude otherwise rewards lawlessness and erases the fundamental difference between citizenship and illegal presence in our country. …
Under my colleagues’ decision, it is difficult to imagine an alien minor anywhere in the world who will not have a constitutional right to an abortion in this country. Their action is at odds with Supreme Court precedent. It plows new and potentially dangerous ground.
Which, of course, is the ACLU’s objective. Open the floodgates, and “plow new and potentially dangerous ground” in its never-ending crusade to multiple the number of dead unborn babies.