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Court Denies Request To Release Undocumented Teen From Texas Facility For An Abortion

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune
A section of border fence near Brownsville, where an undocumented pregnant teenager is being held.

A federal court denied a request Wednesday from attorneys advocating on behalf of a pregnant minor in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in Brownsville. The teenager is being prevented from getting an abortion because of a Trump administration policy that bars unaccompanied immigrant minors from accessing them.

The court, which is in Northern California, said it couldn't grant the request because the teen is in Texas. In its ruling, however, it said "the government may not want to facilitate an abortion, but it cannot block it.”

In a statement, Brigitte Amiri, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, called the ruling a “serious disappointment.”

The ACLU had added the minor to a lawsuit filed last year in the hopes that she could get emergency relief from the court.

“Although the court found it couldn’t hear the case, it was careful to explain that the government has no business blocking Jane Doe’s abortion,” Amiri said in the statement. “Jane Doe has already been blocked by the Trump administration from two appointments related to her abortion care. But she has shown tremendous courage and persistence, and we’re not giving up.”

Amiri said something needs to be done soon because the teen's pregnancy is progressing.

“Trump administration officials are literally holding her hostage and are preventing her from accessing an abortion,” she said earlier this week. “They will not transport her to an abortion facility nor will they allow her court appointed guardian to transport her either.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement that courts have not established that people who are in the U.S. without documentation have a constitutional right to abortion.

“Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions,” he said.

Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.
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