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Teenage Illegal Immigrant Able to Get Abortion
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Summary: An underage illegal immigrant was finally able to receive the abortion she was seeking after an appeals court overturned previous rulings.

The illegal immigrant teenager that was seeking an abortion in Texas has received the procedure. The teenager from Central America who crossed the border into Texas illegally had been staying at a federal shelter for minors when she learned she was pregnant.


The government was against the teenager having the abortion on the basis that it wasn’t the right thing for her to do. The government was succeeding until an appeal by her attorneys at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project for a full Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals intervention overturned previous rulings, allowing for her to have the abortion.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “Today’s loss of innocent human life is tragic.” He further noted that the abortion “may have been avoidable. … This ruling not only cost a life, it could pave the way for anyone outside the United States to unlawfully enter and obtain an abortion. Life and the Constitution are sacred. We lost some of both today.”

The three-judge panel for the DC Circuit ruled that the teenager had until the end of October to find a sponsor otherwise they would meet in court again to move forward with the case. Her lawyers asked for a full court because the panel was comprised of two conservative judges whereas the full court is predominately liberal. The full court had no problem reversing their colleagues ruling by 6-3. The district court judge ordered the girl to be “promptly and without delay” taken to an abortion provider of her choosing.

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The case was a pressing matter since Texas law does not allow for abortions to take place after 20 weeks and the girl was already 16 weeks along. The state also required parental consent or a judicial waiver for minors to obtain an abortion. Since the teenager came to the country without her family, she had to go to court with a guardian appointed from the shelter to get judicial permission. The judge granted her permission but the shelter refused to transport her to an abortion clinic. They refused “to facilitate” her participation in an abortion.

The shelter’s stance prompted the ACLU to file a lawsuit on October 13 on her behalf. Five days later on October 18, a federal judge ruled that HHS must allow a guardian or attorney to transport her to an abortion provider in order to get the state-mandated counseling before the abortion could take place. The next day on October 19, the appeals court’s three-judge panel placed an administrative stay on that judge’s ruling in order to “give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion.”

Oral arguments on October 20 led the panel of judges to allow the abortion process to move forward but with a delay. They wanted the girl to have a sponsor before going through with the procedure.

Why isn’t adoption something that gets discussed as an alternative to abortion? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about abortion rights in the United States, read these articles:



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