Appeals Court Forces Trump Admin to Facilitate Illegal Immigrant’s Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 24, 2017   |   3:35PM   |   Washington, DC

A federal appeals court ruled today that the Trump Administration must facilitate an abortion for an illegal immigrant. Facilitating the abortion would involve some federal funds to help transport the undocumented teen in question to the abortion facility and back to the shelter where she is staying.

As LifeNews reported, a federal judge nominated by Barack Obama ordered the Trump Administration to allow an undocumented teenage girl in the state of Texas to have an abortion that could be funded partly at taxpayer expense. Judge Tanya Chutkan had ruled that the government must allow Jane Doe to get an abortion by Saturday to end the lifeof her 15-week-old unborn baby.

Then, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington stayed the ruling in order to hold a hearing Friday on the merits of the case and eventually ruled that the Trump administration can block the undocumented teen in federal custody from having an abortion. After that, the ACLU asked the full appeals court to rule to force the government to facilitate the abortion.

The ACLU got its wish:

A young pregnant immigrant seeking to end her pregnancy is entitled to seek an abortion without delay, according to a ruling Tuesday from a federal appeals court in Washington.

The order from the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — without oral argument — reverses a decision last week from a three-judge panel of the same court that would have postponed the abortion for the 17-year-old who is being held in federal custody in Texas.

The timeline was at issue because the teenager is more than 15 weeks pregnant and Texas law bans abortion after 20 weeks.

The 6-3 decision sends the case back to a lower court judge to determine the exact timing of the procedure.

“Today’s decision rights a grave constitutional wrong by the government,” wrote Judge Patricia A. Millett.

In the dissent were the court’s three active judges nominated to the bench by Republican presidents. It was not immediately known whether the Trump administration would appeal to the Supreme Court.

Leading pro-life advocates are upset by the decision.

“Today, federal court judges sided with the abortion lobby and its ally the ACLU against true compassion and human dignity,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The ACLU is pushing its larger agenda of making the United States a sanctuary nation for abortion. This shameful ruling must not stand. The Trump administration’s policy is compassionate and consistent with American laws and values, and we hope to see them appeal this decision.”

Penny Nance, President of Concerned Women for America, was disappointed as well.

“Allowing our taxpayers to be entangled in financing and facilitating an abortion for an undocumented teen sets a horrible precedent. We do not want our nation to be known as a place where illegal immigrants can come in order to procure free abortions,” she told “And let’s remember that abortion is not health care. If we want to talk about providing care for undocumented minors who cross our border, then let’s be honest about the fact that there were two lives that crossed our border. There is a fully formed, unborn baby whose life is on the line here. An ultrasound would show that he or she has easily recognizable fingers, toes, and eyes.”

“We implore the Trump Administration to quickly appeal the decision and pray that Jane Doe changes her mind about having an abortion,” she added.

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins called the ruling “a tragedy,” noting that the ruling overturned a Friday decision calling for a sponsor to assist her.

Hawkins said: “A tragedy took place today as the full bench of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals put the partisan interests of abortion over a teenager’s true needs for help. Expanding a so-called ‘right’ of a taxpayer-facilitated abortion to apply to any woman who happens to be on U.S. soil goes against the pro-life views of a majority of Americans, and certainly against the views of most Americans who don’t want their tax dollars paying to end life. The United States should not become an abortion destination spot for the world. Shame on Planned Parenthood and the ACLU for using this teenager to try and create Roe v. Wade 2.0 in the courts.”

And Glenn Foster, CEO and President of Americans United for Life, told LifeNews: “Americans United for Life deeply regrets that a federal appeals court has ruled that a judge can order the United States Government to expend its resources to help end a human life, in violation of the principles of the Hyde Amendment. This is particularly applicable where, as in this situation, the young woman has had ample opportunity to seek a sponsor and not involve federal resources, so there is no legal or practical reason for this ruling.”

HHS has a policy against facilitating abortion, a government brief has said, adding that the teen could easily get the abortion done by returning to her own Central American country.

“There is no constitutional right for a pregnant minor to illegally cross the U.S. border and get an elective abortion while in federal custody,” HHS said in an earlier statement.

Another judge previously refused to step into the controversial abortion case involving a shelter that is encouraging a 17 year old immigrant girl here illegally to choose life for her unborn baby instead of having an abortion. The ACLU, which filed a restraining order on the girl’s behalf, claims the federal government policy is blocking the girl from getting the abortion that she wants.

Click here to sign up for pro-life news alerts from

Previously, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler refused to grant the pro-abortion legal group’s request, saying the restraining order should be filed in a different court and as a separate case to one that the ACLU filed earlier this year. While Beeler said the matter was not for her to decide, she also said she thinks there is “no justification” for preventing the girl from getting an abortion.

“The government may not want to facilitate abortion,” Beeler wrote in her decision. “But it cannot block it. It is doing that here.”

That led to Judge Chutkan’s ruling and subsequent appeal court battles.

The head of a leading pro-life group told she was upset by the ruling.

“The ruling is outrageous and sets a dangerous precedent,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took a simple position that it would protect the life and dignity of the teenage girl and her unborn child while in their care. Shame on this judge for overruling compassionate care and instead mandating that the U.S. government help facilitate an abortion for a teenage girl.

“This ruling plays into the broader agenda of the ACLU, which is recklessly exploiting a teenage girl in order to make the United States a sanctuary state for abortion. We urge the Justice Department to appeal this ruling.”

Earlier this year under President Donald Trump’s administration, the Office of Refugee Resettlement issued a new policy requiring that taxpayer-funded shelters for immigrants and refugees offer life-affirming support to women and girls who are pregnant, according to Slate, a pro-abortion news site.

Office Director Scott Lloyd, a Trump nominee, said the shelters may not take “any action that facilitates” an abortion for unaccompanied minors without his direct approval.

Lloyd said that “grantees should not be supporting abortion services … only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.”

The ACLU responded by filing a lawsuit against the government this summer. The pro-abortion legal group recently asked to add the 17-year-old girl’s case to their lawsuit, but Beeler refused Wednesday, ruling that the cases were not related enough, Courthouse News reports.

The ACLU’s lawsuit challenges the taxpayer funding that religious-based shelters receive to provide care for unaccompanied minor immigrants and refugees. The pro-abortion legal group has a problem with the religious shelters that do not promote or provide abortions or contraception.

Government lawyers argued that the 17-year-old girl’s case should not be added to the lawsuit because the girl is staying at a shelter that is not religiously affiliated, according to the report.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a pro-life advocate, also argued that immigrants who come to United States illegally do not have a “constitutional right to an abortion on demand.”

He pointed out that the ACLU is using the case to try to”create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the U.S. illegally. And with that right, countless others undoubtedly would follow. Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions.”

Paxton continued, “The states 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.”

The ACLU claims the federal office violated the girl’s constitutional rights by refusing to help her get an abortion through the taxpayer-funded shelter in Texas.

According to the report, the shelter took the girl to a pro-life pregnancy resource center instead. The ACLU said the girl did not change her mind after receiving counseling, and scheduled an abortion; however, the shelter where she is staying refused to transport her to the appointment.

It appears that the girl still is at the shelter and still is pregnant. A spokesperson for the Office of Refugee Resettlement said the girl and her unborn baby are receiving excellent care at the shelter.

The new Trump administration policy is a stark contrast to pro-abortion President Barack Obama’s administration, which mandated that unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children be given access to abortion at taxpayer-funded shelters. The Obama Administration also put abortion ahead of human trafficking victims by denying grants to Catholic charities because they wouldn’t help victims get abortions.