The Trump administration today filed a motion with the Supreme Court urging the justices to allow the government to block undocumented pregnant women from having abortions. The move comes weeks after the DC circuit court overruled the federal government and allowed an undocumented pregnant teenager to terminate her pregnancy.
Trump administration lawyers, in a filing that The New York Times calls “extraordinary,” allege that the ACLU, which represented the girl in the case, lied about when she had her abortion. The DC court ruled on October 24 that the Trump administration had to step aside and allow the girl, known as Jane Doe, to terminate her pregnancy. Justice department lawyers allege that the ACLU told them that the procedure would occur on October 26, but actually scheduled the procedure on the 25th. The government’s attorneys say they were planning on appealing that case to the Supreme Court, but ran out of time because of the alleged ACLU head fake. They’re asking the Supreme Court to vacate the DC court’s ruling and discipline the ACLU’s attorneys.
They’re also asking that, in the future, the federal government be empowered to block other undocumented pregnant women from seeking abortion care.
As it stands, the girl known as Jane Doe was forced to wait an additional four weeks in order to obtain an abortion—a legal medical procedure—that she planned on paying for out-of-pocket. Abortions that occur in the second trimester are more complicated, costly, and run a higher risk of complications than the early abortion that Doe initially sought.
Further, many countries in the Western hemisphere severely restrict or outlaw abortion entirely. Jane Doe, like many undocumented immigrants, came from Latin America. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 97 percent of women of childbearing age in Latin America and the Caribbean live in a country where abortion is either restricted or totally banned.
In response to the filing, ACLU director David Cole released the following statement: “This administration has gone to astounding lengths to block this young woman from getting an abortion. Now, because they were unable to stop her, they are raising baseless questions about our conduct. Our lawyers acted in the best interest of our client and in full compliance with the court orders and federal and Texas law. That government lawyers failed to seek judicial review quickly enough is their fault, not ours.”
“We won’t let this distract us from the real issue here, which is that there are many more young women like Jane Doe out there who are still unable to get the care they need because of the Trump administration’s unconstitutional policies. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every young woman like Jane.”