In an amicus brief ahead of the emergency hearing Wednesday, Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton argued that Jane Doe did not have a constitutional right to an abortion because she was an undocumented immigrant and warned of far-reaching consequences should she be granted one.
The ACLU sued the federal government in June 2016, challenging its funding of faith-based groups that care for unaccompanied immigrant minors but deny them access to birth control and abortions.
The ruling allows the girl's attorneys to file a new lawsuit seeking the same order in another federal court district. The American Civil Liberties Union wants a federal judge to grant an emergency court order authorizing her to access abortion services after the Office of Refugee Resettlement blocked her from attending a pre-abortion medical appointment. "Defendants have been talking to me about my pregnancy. I feel like they are trying to coerce me to carry my pregnancy to term", said Doe of officials with the the Office of Refugee Resettlement, under the umbrella of the U.S. Health and Human Services.
"The government may not want to facilitate abortion", Beeler wrote. The procedure itself was scheduled for the next day.
Jane Doe, a minor, successfully sought a judicial waver in lieu of parental consent so that she could get an abortion. Doe's story isn't a one-off incident, rather it appears to fit a pattern, said Hays. And ORR Director Scott Lloyd, an anti-choice figure appointed by Trump in March, made at least one personal visit to a young woman who was seeking abortion in an effort to dissuade her otherwise. She declined to give the girl's name or identify the specific country where she was from, citing the girl's privacy, but said that the girl wanted an abortion in part because her parents had abused another sibling who was pregnant. After Wednesday's decision, ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri called the ruling a "serious disappointment" because it further delays Doe's abortion, and a later abortion always comes with higher medical risks.
"Although the court found it couldn't hear the case, it was careful to explain that the government has no business blocking Jane Doe's abortion", Amiri said in the statement. "We're not giving up". Texas law prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks. Numerous minors like Doe are escaping violence and abuse, the civil liberties group points out.
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Amiri said something needs to be done soon because the teen's pregnancy is progressing.
"A first-year law student understands that it is unconstitutional for the government to ban abortion", she said.
Paxton was joined in filing the brief by the attorneys general of Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and SC.
A ruling in the girl's favor would "will create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the USA illegally", Paxton said in a statement. Doe is now living in a Brownsville facility for undocumented and unaccompanied minors run by the feds.
Hays believes Paxton acted "unethically" when he blasted out a public email this week announcing his opposition to the Doe case and revealing sensitive information, including her South Texas location. "Technically, as AG he's charged with ensuring the confidentiality of bypass cases", she said. "You don't talk about it publicly and you sure don't go and send a press release about it".
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