Government Delivers Abortion For Illegal Teen


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Kevin Daley Supreme Court correspondent
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A pregnant, illegal teenager held at a federally-funded shelter obtained an abortion early Wednesday, after an inflammatory court battle in which the Trump administration refused to facilitate the procedure.

The ACLU, which represented the teen, announced on Twitter that she terminated the pregnancy.

The case was occasioned when a 17-year-old immigrant identified in court documents as Jane Doe was intercepted by federal authorities as she illegally entered the country. Doe is currently being held at a federally-funded shelter in Texas, where she obtained judicial authorization to consent to the procedure, despite the fact she is a minor. Federal authorities refused to transport her to an abortion clinic, precipitating the lawsuit.


Doe was 15 weeks pregnant. Texas law prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks, making the case extremely time sensitive.

Little else is known of the teen, including her country of origin.

The Department of Justice argued the U.S. government has a compelling interest in the promotion of childbirth, and that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has no duty to facilitate abortions.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that HHS can deprive Doe of abortion access until Oct. 31, while the government searches for an adult sponsor to procure the procedure on her behalf. The full D.C. Circuit overturned that decision Tuesday, concluding that the Department’s actions imposed an undue burden on what the court has called a woman’s right to abortion, in violation to the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

The Justice Department was considering an appeal to the Supreme Court, but Doe’s abortion has muted the case.

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