Appeals Court to Review Order Allowing Abortion of Teen Immigrant
WESLACO – A pregnant teen that crossed the border illegally was kept from obtaining an abortion.
An appeal filed late Wednesday halted the permission to transport her to the clinic granted by a federal court the same day.
A D.C. Court of Appeals will be considering whether they will be allowing the teen, known as Jane Doe, to have the shelter step aside and allow her to get to the procedure.
State courts have legally granted her permission to receive it, but she's under a federal shelter that has prohibited transportation to the clinic.
The American Civil Liberties Union represented the teen, who is in a Brownsville shelter, in federal court.
She received a judicial bypass from the state last month. The ACLU is working to get her to her appointment.
On Thursday, she was able to go to the state-required pre-abortion counseling. The three-panel judge will be deciding if they will allow a temporary restraining order stay.
That will keep the shelter from prohibiting transportation.
Jane Doe is 15 weeks pregnant. Her advocates said the wait is creating a more sensitive situation for their client.
Susan Hays, legal director of Jane's Due Process said, "It's not as simple as abortion is legal until 20 weeks in Texas, because at this stage of a pregnancy once you're past 10, 11, 12 weeks, every week an abortion becomes more invasive, more painful, more expensive, more uncomfortable."
The state would not be paying for this abortion. It would be covered by the non-profit organization, Jane's Due Process.
This wouldn't be the only pregnancy that ends in termination at such shelters.
According to court documents filed by ACLU, in 2014, 726 minors under the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the ORR, were pregnant. Five of those ended in terminations with four of them funded by the ORR.
In 2015, about 450 minors were pregnant. Twelve ended in terminations; six of them were funded by the ORR.
Documents the ACLU obtained from the ORR explain pregnancies happen either in home countries through rape or consensual relationships, sexual assault en route or even assault once in the U.S. under federal custody.
The ACLU filed a class action suit that would keep shelters from obstructing, interfering or blocking a minor's access to abortion. Jane Doe is its representative on this issue.
Although her case goes before an appellate court Friday, the class action suit against the federal government continues in a California federal court.
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