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Admin can't block undocumented pregnant teens in US custody from seeking abortions, judge says

A federal judge ruled Monday that the Trump administration could not obstruct two undocumented pregnant teens in US c...

Posted: Dec 19, 2017 12:27 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2017 12:27 PM

A federal judge ruled Monday that the Trump administration could not obstruct two undocumented pregnant teens in US custody from seeking abortions.

In her order, US District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan required the administration to allow the two teens to be transported to an abortion provider "in order to obtain any pregnancy related or abortion-related medical care and to obtain the abortion procedure itself."

Chutkan held that the teens would suffer "irreparable injury" without the order and said that she issued it in view of the need to preserve the girls' "constitutional right to decide whether to carry their pregnancies to term."

The judge did agree to stay her ruling for 24 hours pending appeal.

The Department of Justice said it would appeal the ruling.

At issue are two teens, known in court papers as "Jane Poe and Jane Roe." They are both pregnant undocumented 17 year-olds, being held in US custody in two different, undisclosed states.

The ACLU, representing the teens, sought a temporary restraining order from the court to prohibit the federal government from blocking the teens' access to abortion.

"Absent an immediate temporary restraining order, Ms. Roe and Ms. Poe will both be pushed further into their pregnancies, increasing the risks associated with the abortion procedure, and if, the Court does not intervene, Ms. Roe and Ms. Poe will be forced to carry to term against their will," Brigitte Amiri, an ACLU lawyer, argued in court papers.

Separate from the request for emergency relief, the ACLU is also seeking class certification and a permanent injunction against what it says is the Trump administration's new policy from March prohibiting all federally funded shelters from taking any action to facilitate abortion access for unaccompanied minors. That request is still pending.

Roe is about 10 weeks pregnant, according to the ACLU. The government contends that it is working on finding her a sponsor and that the process is "near completion."

According to the government, Poe is nearly 22 weeks pregnant, and as recently as December 4, she told officials she wanted to continue with the pregnancy. The ACLU disputes the government's assertion and argued that Poe is "quickly approaching the point at which abortion will no longer be an option. "

August E. Flentje, the administration lawyer, said in court briefs that the government has "strong and constitutionally legitimate interests in promoting its interest in life, in refusing to facilitate abortion and in not providing incentives for pregnant minors to illegally cross the border to obtain elective abortions while in federal custody. "

The parties argued a similar case before her last month concerning a teen being held in Texas who is called "Jane Doe" in court papers. Chutkan ruled in favor of Doe and the teen also prevailed in a federal appeals court. After that ruling, Doe obtained an abortion. But the Solicitor General later filed papers with the Supreme Court asking the justices to vacate that opinion and arguing that it was not aware the procedure was to go forward before it could file an appeal. That case is still before the justices.

In a statement, Amiri, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, called the judge's decision Monday "a reminder that both the law and justice are on our side" and cited the Texas case.

"Unfortunately, the Trump administration has shown no indication that they'll abandon their cruel and dystopian crusade to block abortion access for some of the most marginalized people in our country," Amiri said. "We're prepared to keep fighting for as long as we need to."

In Court on Monday, Flentje distinguished the most recent case from the "Doe" case, noting that while Doe lived in a state that required a judicial waiver before the minor could obtain an abortion, the states involved in the latest case do not require such a waiver."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
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