President Donald Trump’s administration has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge from stopping pregnant, unaccompanied immigrant teens that are or will be in federal custody from getting an abortion.
Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is violating the teens’ constitutional rights to obtain the procedure.
“The administration cannot strip unaccompanied immigrant minor children of their right to make their own reproductive choices,” Chutkan wrote in the decision.
According to The Hill, the judge ruling forbids Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families Steve Wagner, Office of Refugee Resettlement Director Scott Lloyd and their associates from interfering or obstructing access to abortion, counseling, medical appointments or other pregnancy-related care.
“While ORR and its director are certainly entitled to maintain an interest in fetal life, and even to prefer that pregnant UC [unaccompanied immigrant minor children] in ORR custody choose one course over the other, ORR may not create or implement any policy that strips UCs of their right to make their own reproductive choices,” she wrote.
Chutkan’s decision to grant the injunction came alongside an opinion certifying the young women as a class in a class action lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) first brought against the government last year.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was fighting the government for the right of a woman, described in the court documents as Jane Doe, to get an abortion, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ultimately granted.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department required by the Supreme Court to vacate that ruling as well as to prevent others from pursuing a similar course of action.
Brigitte Amiri, the deputy director of ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project released a statement saying the court’s decision is a relief.
“The Trump administration’s cruel policy of blocking young immigrant women in federal custody from accessing abortion is a blatant abuse of power,” she said. “We are relieved that the court issued an order preventing the administration from continuing this practice while our case proceeds.”
Amiri also said that the ACLU is now one step closer to ending this “extreme” policy once and for all.