Judge orders Trump admin to allow abortions for immigrant teens

By Sara Shayanian  |  Dec. 19, 2017 at 7:45 AM
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Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A federal judge has ordered President Donald Trump's administration to stop preventing two undocumented immigrant teens in the United States from having abortions.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan said in an order Monday there was a "need to preserve the teens' constitutional right to decide whether to carry their pregnancies to term."

Chutkan granted the American Civil Liberties Union's request for temporary restraining orders to prevent government officials from stopping the 17-year-old girls from having abortions. However, the ruling was put on a 24-hour hold to allow the government time to file for a stay in appellate court.

The Trump administration was critical of the ruling after arguing the two women, known as Jane Doe and Jane Poe, should leave the United States to get the procedures.

"We are deeply disappointed in the decision to grant a temporary restraining order that will compel HHS to facilitate abortions for minors when they are not medically necessary," the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.

"A pregnant minor who has entered the country illegally has the option to voluntarily depart to her home country or identify a suitable sponsor. HHS-funded facilities that provide temporary shelter and care for unaccompanied alien minors should not become way stations for these children to get taxpayer-facilitated abortions."

The Trump administration filed a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, with Solicitor General Noel Francisco noting that one of the girls "is only about 10 weeks pregnant" and could be taken out of federal custody within two weeks.

"A stay here would preserve the status quo pending further adjudication...and would ensure that this court need not choose 'between justice on the fly' and 'participation in what may be an idle ceremony,'" Francisco said.

The restraining order issued by Chutkan reignited the battle over immigrants and abortion, which began in October when another 17-year-old immigration detainee petitioned to end her pregnancy.

The ACLU celebrated the victory Monday, saying the ruling was a "reminder that both the law and justice are on our side."

"Unfortunately, the Trump administration has shown no indication that they'll abandon their cruel and dystopian crusade to block abortion access for some of the most marginalized people in our country," the ACLU said.

"We're prepared to keep fighting for as long as we need to."

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