Tags: Abortion | Supreme Court | Trump Administration | teen | illegal | undocumented | judge

US Judge Orders Govt to Allow Undocumented Teen's Abortion

US Judge Orders Govt to Allow Undocumented Teen's Abortion
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By    |   Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:35 PM

The government must allow a pregnant 17-year-old illegal immigrant to undergo an abortion, a federal judge in Washington ruled Wednesday, saying she was "astounded" by the government's refusal.

After a brief hearing, Judge Tanya Chutkan — who was appointed by President Barack Obama — ordered the government to move "promptly and without delay" to transport the teen, or to let others take her to the nearest abortion provider.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Stewart had argued the teen was free to go back to her home country for the abortion, but the "government is entitled to favor childbirth" and should not be required to facilitate abortions.

"I am astounded by that position," Chutkan replied.

Chutkan countered the teenager does not need a medical emergency to exercise her right to an abortion. She said the teen had followed state and federal rules: She obtained permission from a state judge in Texas to have an abortion and would cover the expenses herself or with help through her court-appointed guardian.

All the government had to do, the judge said, is process the paperwork to let the girl visit the clinic, just as they would if she needed to have her tonsils removed.

The judge pointed out the federal workers took the teen, against her wishes, to a Christian pregnancy facility for counseling, which was designed to change her mind about the abortion, and also informed her mother about the pregnancy.

"The government didn't seem to have any problem facilitating that," Chutkan said.

Both steps potentially violated the girl's constitutional protections, Chutkan said.

The case originated in Texas and was brought to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The teen is believed to be about 15 weeks pregnant. She has been in federal custody since early September, when she was caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Her native country was not identified during the hearing, The Washington Post reported.

"[Wednesday's] ruling is outrageous and sets a dangerous precedent," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the antiabortion group Susan B. Anthony List, told the Post.

The judge has not yet ruled on an ACLU request to apply her ruling to other minors in federal custody.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A federal judge in Washington ruled Wednesday the government must allow a pregnant 17-year-old illegal immigrant to undergo an abortion.
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017 09:35 PM
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