On Thursday, A federal appeals court in Washington D.C. temporary stopped a judge’s order demanding that the government allow a 17-year-old pregnant Texas illegal to get an abortion.
A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had issued an order placing a hold on part of a lower court judge’s order that had instructing the immigration detention facility to provide the teen with an abortion.
Initially, the U.S. District Court Judge, Tanya Chutkan, had issued an order on the Wednesday telling the federal officials to allow the detainee to receive further counseling and the ultrasound test required by Texas law on Thursday, and then to permit her to get an abortion procedure later in the week. The order came over the objection of the Trump administration.
Justice Department lawyers, who had appealed the lower court’s ruling, cited that the government’s interest in “fetal life and childbirth” as grounds for blocking the order in a motion filed Wednesday night.
The appeals court’s decision required the officials to still allow the counseling, but it lifted the requirement that officials had to allow the abortion.
The girl, who is identified in the court papers only as Jane Doe, obtained a Texas judge’s permission on September 25th and had an abortion appointment scheduled for September 28th, at the end of her first trimester, according to a lawyer for the detainee.
However, the officials at the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, refused to transport her to the abortion appointment. Instead, they had taken her to a crisis pregnancy center and called her mother in her home country to tell her about the pregnancy.
“The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay and should not be constructed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion,” the D.C. Circuit order had said.
The appeals court’s orders draws more attention to what looked like a major policy change by the Trump administration to block underage immigration detainees from accessing abortions.
Catherine Glenn Foster – the president and CEO of Americans United for Life, a pro-life group, condemned the Chutkan’s initial order on Wednesday saying, “Americans United for Life is deeply disappointed that once again, an activist judge has declared abortion ‘access’ more important than U.S. law and policy that prohibits federal funding and support of elective abortion.”