By Dave Andrusko
In a 100% predictable move, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan issued an order Friday evening “barring the government from ‘interfering with or obstructing” pregnant minors’ access to abortion counseling or abortions, among other things, while a lawsuit proceeds,’” the Associated Press reported. “The order covers pregnant minors being held in federal custody after entering the country illegally.” The lawsuit was brought by the ACLU.
Judge Chutkan, who was the first judge to order the government to allow an illegal unaccompanied minor to have an abortion, also gave the ACLU the go-ahead to go forward with the lawsuit as a class action lawsuit. It is the ACLU’s position that all undocumented girls and women have a constitutional “right” to abortion.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Department of Health and Human Services said that it “strongly maintains that taxpayers are not responsible for facilitating the abortion of unaccompanied minors who entered the country illegally and are currently in the government’s care.”
It said it is “working closely with the Justice Department to review the court’s order and determine next steps,” according to the AP.
HHS is responsible for sheltering children, including pregnant minors, who illegally enter the country unaccompanied by a parent.
As NRL News Today has reported in numerous stories, it is the Trump administration’s policy not to “facilitate” these abortions. Four pregnant undocumented girls (that we know of) have taken their cases to court and all eventually secured their abortion.
It is the position of the Department of Justice that these teenagers may either go back to their home country of origin or “identify a suitable sponsor” but not simply be released on their own recognizance.
Ken Paxton, the attorney general of Texas, filed an amicus brief on behalf of Texas and a coalition of other states going further, arguing that illegal aliens detained at the border have no constitutional right to an abortion.
There are two related questions before the Supreme Court: do undocumented pregnant immigrant teenagers have a right to an abortion?—and/or the second issue which is the Justice Department’s complaint that the ACLU misrepresented when the first girl (“Jane Doe”) would have her abortion, which the ACLU denies.
In the accounts of Judge Chutkan’s decision, the ACLU said it “doesn’t know of any others actively seeking abortions.”
This is not current data, but the Washington Times reported that of last October
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.
The AP reported that Judge Chutkan
said in the ruling Friday that Scott Lloyd [director of HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement] and his office are “certainly entitled to maintain an interest in fetal life” and even to prefer that pregnant minors in their custody “choose one course over the other,” but the government can’t create or implement a policy that strips minors “of their right to make their own reproductive choices.”