A judge ordered the Trump administration Wednesday to allow an illegal alien minor to obtain an abortion while she is in federal custody for entering the U.S. illegally.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered that the U.S. government allow the 17-year-old pregnant teenager to visit an abortion provider close to where she is in custody in Texas Thursday and undergo the required counseling under state law before she has the procedure Friday or Saturday.
Chutkan added that the federal government is “restrained from interfering with or obstructing [the teen’s] access to abortion counseling or an abortion” after attorneys general from eight U.S. states filed an amicus brief Tuesday arguing that an illegal alien does not have a right to an abortion.
“Failure to comply with the terms of this Order may result in a finding of contempt,” wrote Chutkan, who was appointed to the court by former President Barack Obama.
The judge said that the government’s refusal to allow the teen access to an abortion provider gave her only two options: self-deport to the Central American country she fled or carry her pregnancy to term.
Chutkan ruled that the teenager, who is identified as Jane Doe in court documents, had the right to an abortion despite her legal status because “she still has constitutional rights.”
The judge added that Jane Doe did not need to have a medical emergency to undergo the procedure, and ruled that she was allowed to obtain permission from a Texas state judge to cover the abortion so long as she covered the cost of it herself or with her court-appointed guardian’s help.
Pro-life groups blasted Wednesday’s ruling, calling it “outrageous.”
“Today’s ruling is outrageous and sets a dangerous precedent,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, in a statement.
Dannenfelser added that the government was trying to “protect the life and dignity of the teenage girl and her unborn child while in their care.”
The order is limited to Jane Doe’s case and will expire in 14 days. Jane Doe’s attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argued that Doe, at 15 weeks pregnant, was running out of time because it is illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The judge has yet to rule on an ACLU motion that would apply Jane Doe’s ruling to other minors in federal custody.