Court Rules on Immigrant Teen Abortions

Order pertains to teens in federal custody
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 31, 2018 12:55 PM CDT
Court: Feds Can't Block Immigrant Teen Abortions
On Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, 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.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

A federal court in Washington told the Trump administration Friday that the government can't interfere with the ability of pregnant immigrant teens being held in federal custody to obtain abortions, the AP reports. A judge issued an order Friday evening barring the government from "interfering with or obstructing" pregnant minors' access to abortion counseling or abortions, among other things, while a lawsuit proceeds. The order covers pregnant minors being held in federal custody after entering the country illegally. Lawyers for the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for sheltering children who illegally enter the country unaccompanied by a parent, have said the department has a policy of "refusing to facilitate" abortions.

And the director of the office that oversees the shelters says he believes teens in his agency's care have no constitutional right to abortion. The American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit on behalf of the minors, which the judge overseeing the case also Friday allowed to go forward as a class action lawsuit. "We have been able to secure justice for these young pregnant women in government custody who will no longer be subject to the government's policy of coercion and obstruction while the case continues," said an ACLU attorney after the judge's order became public. The government can appeal the judge's order.

(More abortion stories.)

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