Bishops welcome efforts to defend unborn child of undocumented teen

Randolph Lopez
October 25, 2017

A spokeswoman at Southwestern Women's Surgery Center in Dallas said the cost for an abortion for a pregnancy of 10 weeks or less is $650.

But the federal Department of Health and Human Services has not allowed Jane Doe to leave the shelter where she is living under federal custody in order to get an abortion. Doe, who is now about 16 weeks pregnant, received permission from a state judge to receive an abortion back on September 25, and her abortion has now been delayed for a month and into her second trimester.

The next day, a three-judge panel from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued an administrative stay of that ruling - with one judge dissenting - to "give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion" filed by the government.

Days earlier, a three-judge panel from the appeals court ruled 2-1 that Doe could not immediately have access to the abortion she requested.

The case revolves around the question of whether the federal government will facilitate an abortion for a 17-year-old from Central America, known only as "Jane Doe".

The majority in Garza stated in its ruling, "The Government argues that, pursuant to standard HHS policy, a sponsor may be secured for a minor unlawful in HHS custody, including for a minor who is seeking an abortion". As Slate concludes in its analysis of the DOJ's position, "This argument is merely another way of stating that women like Doe have no right to an abortion in the United States". "The teenager [in Texas] has overcome extreme obstacles, she's come to this country by herself and she's taken steps to get an abortion, but she is still denied and held hostage against her will and forced to carry to term", she said. Two of the minors whose cases are summarized in the memo, which was shared with HuffPost, said they had been raped, but in both instances the officials casted doubt on their stories, writing that the 17-year-olds had initially said their pregnancy resulted from consensual sex.

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The teen has been in USA government custody for almost two months and two people have been ruled out as potential sponsors. "Every additional week the government delays her abortion increases the risks associated with the procedure", the teen's attorneys wrote in the petition for en banc review filed with the D.C. Circuit late Sunday, Politico reported.

"We implore the Trump Administration to quickly appeal the decision and pray that Jane Doe changes her mind about having an abortion", she concluded.

"Fortunately, today's decision rights a grave constitutional wrong by the government", wrote Judge Patricia Millett in a concurring opinion.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Jane Doe, argued the government was violating her constitutional right to an abortion.

When asked in an email what is being done to find the girl a sponsor, the Administration for Children and Families at HHS responded: "For however much time we are given, the Office of Refugee Resettlement and HHS will protect the well-being of this minor and all children and babies in our facilities, and we will defend human dignity for all in our care". Eastern Time on October 31 to secure a sponsor for the girl to whom she could be released. J.D. has instead been forced to visit a religiously affiliated crisis pregnancy center and view a sonogram of the fetus.

The ORR also announced in March that federally funded shelters were prohibited from taking "any action that facilitates" abortion for minors without Lloyd's explicit "direction and approval", including "scheduling appointments, transportation, or other arrangement".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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