Judge temporarily stops gov't from facilitating abortion for illegal immigrant teen


A federal appeals court has temporarily blocked a judge's ruling that would have allowed a detained teenager who is in the USA illegally to have an abortion, in the latest twist in a legal battle between the ACLU and the Trump administration. She is now 15 weeks pregnant, and Texas bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. She has been in federal custody since early September, when she was caught illegally crossing the U.S. -Mexico border.

The move by the three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals comes less than 24 hours after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan permitted the teen to get her abortion and ordered that she be taken to the nearest abortion clinic closest to her shelter.

"The goal of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion", the three-judge appeals panel said in its order.

"The D.C. Circuit made the right decision to temporarily stay the district court's order, which contradicts U.S. Supreme Court precedent and harms the public interest because it effectively creates a right to abortion for anyone who entered the U.S. illegally, no matter how briefly", Paxton said in a news release.

The case will go for oral argument at the appeals court Friday.

On Thursday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked part of the lower court's ruling from the day before.

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On Wednesday, a federal court ruled that the government could not keep the teen, who the Washington Post reports is 15 weeks pregnant, from getting the abortion.

In a hearing in federal court today, lawyers from Trump's Justice Department argued why their actions blocking abortion access for an unaccompanied minor now being held at a federal refugee shelter in Texas are constitutional. Previously, minors only needed to seek permission from ORR if they wanted the federal government to pay for their abortions, since federal funding for the procedure is restricted by the Hyde Amendment, said Brigitte Amiri, the lead lawyer for the ACLU on Doe's case.

Under President Donald Trump, the Office of Refugee Resettlement has implemented policies against allowing abortions for the minors in its care.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Jane Doe, argues that the government is infringing on the teenager's constitutional right to an abortion. "If "Doe" prevails in this case, the ruling will create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the USA illegally". The Health and Human Services Department has repeatedly intervened in similar cases where minors had to visit crisis pregnancy center or talk to a senior HHS official.

In the past, minors have been allowed to leave shelters ― where they are typically held temporarily while they go through immigration proceedings ― to get abortions. That, the government says, violates federal law. Government funds are used only for procedures for victims of rape or incest, or if the life of the minor is at risk.