A federal judge decided Monday that the Trump administration must facilitate abortions for two more illegal immigrant minors.
The case involves two 17-year-old minors who are represented by the ACLU. “Jane Doe” is about 10 weeks pregnant and “Jane Poe” is about 22 weeks pregnant, according to the Washington Post.
The lawsuit challenges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ new life-affirming policies, which provide information and support to encourage teens to choose life for their unborn babies and prohibit taxpayer-funded shelters from facilitating abortions.
Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ruled against the government Monday, claiming that the teens would suffer if the government does not help them abort their unborn babies, the New York Times reports.
“If defendants are not immediately restrained from prohibiting shelter staff from transporting J.R. and J.P. to abortion facilities or otherwise interfering with or obstructing their access to an abortion, J.R. and J.P. will both suffer irreparable injury in the form of, at a minimum, increased risk to their health,” Chutkan wrote in her decision.
She also claimed the illegal immigrant teens are “legally entitled” to abortions.
The government immediately appealed the ruling, according to the report.
However, the Administration for Children and Families, which oversees the shelters where the teens are staying, said Monday that the teens’ abortions are not medically necessary and therefore should not be supported by taxpayers.
It is “deeply disappointed in the decision to grant a temporary restraining order that will compel H.H.S. to facilitate abortions for minors when they are not medically necessary,” the office said in a statement.
“H.H.S.-funded facilities that provide temporary shelter and care for unaccompanied alien minors should not become way stations for these children to get taxpayer-facilitated abortions,” the office continued.
The government argued that the young women may not be mature enough to make the irreversible decision to abort their unborn babies. It pointed out that Poe, who is 22 weeks pregnant, changed her mind just last week after saying she did not want an abortion, according to the report.
HHS, which provides care for illegal immigrant minors, “has strong and constitutionally legitimate interests in promoting its interest in life, in refusing to facilitate abortion, and in not providing incentives for pregnant minors to illegally cross the border to obtain elective abortions while in federal custody,” the government stated.
The department said the teens have several other options if they want abortions, including finding a sponsor or returning to their home country.
“If they choose not to exercise these options, HHS does not believe we are required to facilitate the abortion,” the department said in a statement.
However, the ACLU argued that the department is unconstitutionally blocking the teens from obtaining abortions.
“We’ve already stopped the Trump administration from blocking one young woman’s abortion,” said ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri in a statement. “It’s unreal that the federal government is trying to force more young women to continue their pregnancies against their will.”
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, lamented the ruling Monday.
“It runs counter to our country’s founding principles to grant undocumented teenagers in U.S. custody an abortion,” Mancini said, “we should be promoting hope to these young women who are guests in our country, not death. There is something wrong with our culture when vulnerable immigrant teenagers exploited by abortion proponents are being celebrated for falling victim to a political agenda.”
In October, the ACLU convinced a court to force the department to help facilitate an abortion for another “Jane Doe,” an illegal immigrant teen in Texas.
Later, Trump administration said the ACLU lied to its lawyers about when the teen’s abortion would take place, preventing it from appealing, the AP reports. Amiri and other ACLU lawyers could face disciplinary measures after government lawyers said they provided misleading information about the date of Doe’s abortion.
News reports indicate the teen also needed mental health counseling after aborting her unborn child.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been supporting the government’s efforts.
Paxton previously said the ACLU was using the Texas “Jane Doe” 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.”
Earlier this year, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement adopted new, life-affirming policies under President Donald Trump’s appointee Scott Lloyd. The office oversees shelters where children stay until a sponsor or family member can be found to care for them.
Lloyd directed the shelters not to take “any action that facilitates” an abortion for unaccompanied minors without his direct approval, and that “grantees should not be supporting abortion services … only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.”