The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the Trump administration on Friday on behalf of an immigrant minor, named only as Jane Doe, who came to the country illegally and has been denied access to an abortion by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) in a shelter in Brownsville, Texas. ORR released a statement Tuesday emphasizing that the minor has no "constitutional right" to an abortion.
ORR informed Politico Tuesday that they are “providing excellent care to this young woman and her unborn child and fulfilling our duty to the American people. There is no constitutional right for a pregnant minor to illegally cross the U.S. border and get an elective abortion while in federal custody."
"We cannot cede our responsibility to care for minors and their babies by releasing them to ideological advocacy groups," they add.
“There is a pattern of unconstitutional overreach of power in a minor’s abortion decision,” the ACLU lawyer on the case, Brigitte Amiri claims.
The ACLU attempted to join the minor’s case last week with a separate lawsuit against religious groups, such as the USCCB, that provide care to immigrants but do not provide or refer them to abortions.
They argued in that request for a preliminary injunction in San Francisco Court that this policy is unconstitutional because it prevents minors, including the one in this most recent case who is referenced as Jane Doe, from exercising their “fundamental constitutional right to an abortion.”
The judge denied the request, arguing that she couldn't hear Doe's case because the girl is in Texas. However, the judge also said that "the government has no business blocking Jane Doe's abortion."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who filed an amicus curiae brief on the side of the federal government in the ACLU’s earlier case, said a ruling to allow the minor an abortion would create a dangerous precedent.
“No federal court has ever declared that unlawfully-present aliens with no substantial ties to this country have a constitutional right to abortion on demand,” Paxton pointed out in a statement. “If ‘Doe’ prevails in this case, the ruling will create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the U.S. illegally. And with that right, countless others undoubtedly would follow. Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions.”
Paxton said that “Texas has a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life, as well as an interest in promoting respect for human life at all stages in a pregnancy.”