Immigrant Teen Takes Abortion Fight to Court

A federal appeals court in Washington was asked on Sunday to allow a 17-year-old immigrant have an abortion notwithstanding opposition from the Trump administration. The lawyers of the teenage girl, who is held in an immigration shelter, requested the court to reconsider its previous ruling which prevented the government from letting her have an abortion.

On Friday, a three-judge panel gave the government until the end of the month to find the girl an adult sponsor who would, in turn, help her have the abortion if she still wants to get one. When the ruling took place last week, the teen, known only as Jane Doe, was already in week 15 of her pregnancy, which complicates matters even further as in Texas abortion is banned after 20 weeks.

“Every additional day she must remain pregnant against her will places a severe strain on J.D., both physically and emotionally. Every additional week the government delays her abortion increases the risks associated with the procedure. In a matter of weeks, J.D. will no longer be able to get an abortion at all, and the government will have forced J.D. to have a child against her will,” the girl’s attorneys wrote in their petition.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which the attorneys accuse is limiting the girl’s rights, said they have a policy of “refusing to facilitate” abortions for minors and that they will protect the teen’s well-being as well as that of her baby.

The administration has until 11 a.m. Monday to file a response to the petition. Last week they argued that allowing the teenage girl to be released from the shelter would mean facilitating her abortion.

The lawyers also expressed their strong belief that finding and approving a sponsor for the girl by October 31 was unrealistic.


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