Report: Undocumented Teens Stopped From Having Abortions

ACLU takes up the case of one teen in Texas
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2017 3:40 PM CDT
Report: Undocumented Teens Stopped From Having Abortions
Abortion rights activists dressed as characters from "The Handmaid's Tale" protest the anti-abortion bills in the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, Tuesday, May 9, 2017.   (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

The Trump administration has allegedly been preventing undocumented pregnant teenagers at federally funded shelters from getting abortions. One case will test the policy: The ACLU is suing on behalf of a pregnant 17-year-old, named only as Jane Doe, in a Brownsville, Texas, shelter. Politico takes an extensive look at the policy shift in general, which sources say has impacted other teens. Under the Obama administration, Health and Human Services officials only got involved with undocumented teens who wanted abortions if they requested federal funding for the procedure. If the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest, or if the mother's life was in danger, the request went through. If a teen had the money to pay for it, the government didn't get involved at all; Doe falls into this category.

The unaccompanied minor secured a judge's OK to get an abortion without parental consent and had an initial appointment scheduled for Sept. 28. But officials at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a department of HHS, refused to take her, called her mom to alert her to the pregnancy, and took the teen to a crisis pregnancy center, a religiously affiliated center that counsels against abortions. Sources tell Politico these moves have been used with other teens for seven months now, and in some cases, the head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement personally visited teens in shelters to counsel them against getting an abortion. HHS says in a statement that "there is no constitutional right for a pregnant minor to illegally cross the US border and get an elective abortion while in federal custody" and that officials "cannot cede our responsibility to care for minors and their babies by releasing them to ideological advocacy groups." Read the full piece. (Read more abortion stories.)

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