The Trump administration is preventing a pregnant undocumented teen immigrant from getting an abortion, according to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., late last week, says the unaccompanied minor referred to as “Jane Doe” came to the United States without her parents and is staying in a Texas shelter funded by the US Office of Refugee Resettlement.
The 17-year-old has received judicial permission to get an abortion, and has raised the funds to do so, the group said Tuesday. But officials will not transport her or allow anyone else to transport her to get the procedure, the ACLU said.
“Federal officials have no right to prevent this young woman from getting the care she needs. We’ve filed suit in federal court in Washington in the hope that we can put an end to these unconscionable delays,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
’Federal law is very clear’
The lawsuit names several government employees, including Eric Hargan, acting secretary of Health and Human Services, as defendants.
“Jane Doe is a brave and persistent young woman who has already been forced by the Trump administration to delay her abortion for weeks. The government is holding her hostage so that she will be forced to carry to term against her will,” Amiri said.
In a statement, the Administration for Children & Families at HHS defended its care of the teenager and its decision.
“There is no constitutional right for a pregnant minor to illegally cross the US border and get an elective abortion while in federal custody,” the statement said.
“Federal law is very clear on giving the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement the legal responsibility to care for the health and well-being of a minor in the unaccompanied alien children program and, in this case, her unborn baby,” the statement said. “We cannot cede our responsibility to care for minors and their babies by releasing them to ideological advocacy groups.”
The ACLU claims its client was required to visit a religiously affiliated “crisis pregnancy center” to undergo counseling to continue the pregnancy, and she was required to have a sonogram against her will.
Amiri said in a statement that the Trump administration’s action is shocking and unconstitutional.
“And this case isn’t the only one – nationally, the federal government is obstructing young immigrant women’s access to abortion. It’s blatantly unconstitutional, not to mention unconscionable,” Amiri said.
Texas law requires parental consent or a judicial waiver before an abortion. The lawsuit said the girl does not want her family to know she is pursuing an abortion.
CNN’s Gregory Wallace and Phil Gast contributed to this report.