Undocumented teen who aborted seeking mental health treatment

Trump administration wishes to be able to share information with mental health providers

By Dave Andrusko

The Washington Times is reporting that “Jane Doe,” the undocumented teenager from Central America who underwent an abortion after a month-long legal standoff, “is now seeking mental health treatment,” according to new court documents filed by the Trump administration.

“The Trump administration asked a judge 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.

Jonathan White, deputy director for the government’s children’s programs, wrote, “The Court’s restriction, as we understand it, prohibits HHS or the shelter from informing prospective mental health providers of J.D.’s abortion or sharing her medical records concerning that abortion.” He added, “This information would normally be shared with such health care providers; reporting recent medical and surgical procedures is a standard intake question for mental health treatment.”

The “Court” White is referring to is U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, an Obama appointee. On October 18 Judge Chutkan ordered the government to allow Jane Doe to proceed in having an abortion. It was also 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.

According to Swoyer, she “had imposed severe restrictions on the government’s ability to communicate about the juvenile girl’s abortion, citing privacy laws.”

The ACLU which persuaded the DC Court of Appeals to rule in Jane Doe’s favor, said the government should not be able to tell anyone about the abortion without the17-year-old’s permission. Her baby was approximately 16 weeks old.

The Times story had no further details about the specifics of Jane Doe’s mental health treatment.

This new action by the Trump administration comes days after the Justice Department filed a 29-page petition for review with the Supreme Court.

Amy Howe wrote summarized the petition (signed by Solicitor General Noel Francisco and Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall) and the background:

Today [last Friday] the federal government went to the Supreme Court, where it 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.

In brief the petition argues “the ACLU misled the United States as to the timing of Jane Doe’s abortion,” according to Justice Department spokesman Devin O’Malley. “After informing Justice Department attorney the procedure would occur on October 26th, Jane Doe’s attorneys scheduled the abortion for the early morning hours of October 25th, thereby thwarting Supreme Court review.”