11-State Coalition Files Brief Backing Govt.’s Appeal to Supreme Court Over Illegal Immigrant Teen’s Abortion

WASHINGTON — A coalition of 11 states have filed an amicus brief backing the Trump administration’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after an illegal immigrant teenager was allowed by a federal appeals court to obtain an abortion. The government especially is upset that it was not told when the girl would be having the procedure, and therefore the baby was killed before an emergency appeal could be filed.

“This court should vacate the court of appeals’ order because the Constitution does not confer the right to an elective abortion on unlawfully-present aliens with virtually no ties to the country,” the brief, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, reads.

“The States have an interest in cooperating with the federal government to establish a consistent and correct understanding of the rights of aliens unlawfully present in the United States, as the States ‘bear[] many of the consequences of illegal immigration,'” it outlines. “The States also have ‘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 the pregnancy.’”

In addition to Texas, attorneys general in Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia, as well the general counsel for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, all joined Monday’s brief.

As previously reported, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in October against the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) on behalf of a 17-year-old girl, only referred to as “Jane Doe” in legal documents, who was informed that she was pregnant after being taken into government custody upon crossing the border earlier this year.

“Instead of arranging for Ms. Doe’s requested medical care, Defendants forced Ms. Doe to visit an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center where she was forced to undergo an ultrasound for no medical purpose, made to reveal intimate details about herself, and was subjected to the center’s attempts to dissuade her from having an abortion,” the lawsuit read.

A federal judge soon ruled that the girl was “legally entitled” to the abortion and ordered the government to allow it to proceed. However, the Trump administration appealed and was granted its request to find a relative sponsor for the teen so that the matter would be out of the hands of the government. The ACLU then appealed to the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which overturned the decision and allowed the abortion to move forward.

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However, before the government could file an emergency appeal, the teenager obtained an abortion in the early hours of the morning.

The U.S. Department of Justice appealed anyway to the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 3, asking that the ruling be overturned. It also recommended that the ACLU be punished for seemingly being underhanded about the matter.

“The ACLU misled the United States as to the timing of Jane Doe’s abortion,” spokesman Devin O’Malley told the New York Times. “After informing Justice Department attorneys that the procedure would occur on October 26th, Jane Doe’s attorneys scheduled the abortion for the early morning hours of October 25th, thereby thwarting Supreme Court review. In light of that, the Justice Department believes the judgment under review should be vacated, and discipline may be warranted against Jane Doe’s attorneys.”

“That government lawyers failed to seek judicial review quickly enough is their fault, not ours,” argued back ACLU Legal Director David Cole in a statement. “We won’t let this distract us from the real issue here, which is that there are many more young women like Jane Doe out there who are still unable to get the care they need because of the Trump administration’s unconstitutional policies. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every young woman like Jane.”

“It seems very clear to me that ACLU lawyers misled the Department of Justice to carry out this heinous act against an unborn innocent life,” Paxton said. “I hope the court will hold the responsible ACLU lawyers accountable for their conduct.”


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