Appeals Court Reverses Itself on Immigrant Seeking Abortion

17-year-old Jane Doe must be allowed to have abortion, court rules
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2017 4:25 PM CDT
Undocumented Teen Can Get Abortion: Appeals Court
Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion, outside of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In a new twist in the ongoing saga of a 17-year-old's attempts to get an abortion while being held in a federal immigration shelter, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday the Trump administration must stop blocking her from the procedure, Politico reports. A three-judge panel of the court on Friday gave the government until Oct. 31 to find a sponsor to take custody of the undocumented teen, known only as Jane Doe. Lawyers for the teen, who is being represented by the ACLU, said they'd tried everything to find her a sponsor to no avail. On Sunday, they asked the full court to reverse the panel's decision. Lawyers argued the delay to Oct. 31 is putting the teen dangerously close to the abortion cutoff for Texas, which bans the procedure after 20 weeks.

Tuesday's 6-3 ruling was split between Democrat- and Republican-appointed judges. It sends the case back to a lower court, where a judge ordered the Trump administration to allow Jane Doe to have an abortion, the Austin-American Statesman reports. According to the AP, the teen came to the US in September from an unnamed Central American country and found out she was pregnant while in federal custody. The Department of Health and Human Services says it has a police of "refusing to facilitate" abortions and had refused to transport or temporarily release the teen to have the procedure. “It’s clear that their anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-immigration agenda is unchecked by basic decency or even the bounds of the law,” an ACLU lawyer says. The Trump administration could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court. (More abortion stories.)

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