Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Halt Detained Immigrant Girl’s Abortion

Just as federal officials accepted defeat in trying to prevent one undocumented immigrant teen from terminating her pregnancy, the Trump administration turned around and asked the Supreme Court on Monday to block the abortion of another teenage immigrant currently in custody.

This request was made despite a federal judge issuing a temporary restraining order, forcing the Trump administration to allow the two teenage immigrants currently in federal custody to have abortions as soon as this evening. They are both 17 years old and are both detained in federally-funded shelters in different states. Yet it is unknown why the administration continues to pursue their blockage of one abortion, but not the other — especially considering the how far along each of their pregnancies are.

The girl whose abortion the administration is no longer attempting to block is 22 weeks pregnant, while the other girl, who they are still trying to block from having an abortion, is only 10 weeks pregnant. Neither the identities of the girls nor the separate shelters where they are living have been revealed to the public. The two teens are referred to as Jane Roe and Jane Poe.

The restraining order is meant to bar government officials from preventing the teens from leaving their respective shelters in order to have their abortions.

In the stay application filed with the Supreme Court on Monday, Solicitor General Noel Francisco even acknowledged that the girl in question is only ten weeks pregnant. The difference might be that they could have her out of federal custody and with a sponsor within two weeks.

“A stay here would preserve the status quo pending further adjudication…and would ensure that this Court need not choose ‘between justice on the fly’ and ‘participation in what may be an idle ceremony,'” Francisco said.

The restraining order on Monday was issued by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee. The legal battle over the reproductive rights of undocumented minors first became a pressing issue in October when another immigration detainee, also 17 years of age, petitioned to end her pregnancy. This Jane Doe was eventually allowed to have an abortion.

In her order on Monday, Chutkan stated that there is a “need to preserve [the teens’] constitutional right to decide whether to carry their pregnancies to term.” She also said that the same legal principles are at stake for these two girls as they were for the Jane Doe in October.

Furthermore, Chutkan wrote that if the government continues to block the teenagers’ access to abortion, they “will both suffer irreparable injury in the form of, at a minimum, increased risk to their health, and perhaps the permanent inability to obtain a desired abortion to which they are legally entitled.”

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