The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the D.C. Court of Appeals Sunday to re-hear the case of Jane Doe, an unaccompanied minor who is seeking an abortion in Texas which HHS officials have declined to facilitate. The Court of Appeals ruled Friday evening that the teen must find a sponsor in the U.S. by October 31st to facilitate the abortion so that HHS is not involved.
They argue that HHS is unconstitutionally blocking the girl’s right to an abortion guaranteed under Roe v. Wade and her “immigration status has no bearing on her constitutional claims.” They add that finding a sponsor to facilitate the abortion will take months potentially delaying the procedure into November “to the point at which abortion is barred under Texas law.”
“Weeks have passed with no resolution for Jane Doe,” Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement on the case. “As we continue to fight for her ability to make her own decision about whether to end her pregnancy, the Trump administration continues its staggering overreach by holding her hostage and preventing her from getting an abortion.”
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, called the court’s decision to delay the abortion until a sponsor is found “nothing less than an outrage.”
The court's decision to willfully delay Jane Doe’s CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to a safe, legal abortion is nothing less than an outrage. https://t.co/tlEPQVGHF4— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) October 20, 2017
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was disappointed with the D.C. circuit’s ruling as well. He has concerns about the precedent it might set to allow Jane Doe to obtain an abortion even through a sponsor.
“We’re disappointed with today’s result from the D.C. Circuit.” Paxton said. “Unlawfully-present aliens with no substantial ties to the U.S. do not have a right to abortion on demand. Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions.”
Catherine Glenn Foster, President of Americans United for Life, said that the group "is thankful that the federal appeals court avoided a sweeping constitutional ruling that would have mandated that taxpayer dollars be spent in violation of the Hyde Amendment by forcing government employees to accompany an undocumented teen girl as she obtained a second-trimester abortion.”
“However,” she added, “we are deeply saddened and troubled that the court has nonetheless ordered the government to facilitate and be complicit in a young girl's abortion by locating an abortion-friendly sponsor for the teen, and has favored access to elective abortion over U.S. law and policy and the life of an unborn child. The court has turned a blind eye to the true injustice of abortion, set a deadline for the death of a child, and risked turning the U.S. - one of the few countries in the world to allow late-term abortions - into a destination for abortion-seekers."