Trump Administration Claims Preventing Young Immigrants from Accessing Abortion is Constitutional

We were in a Washington, D.C., appeals court on Wednesday facing off yet again with the Trump administration over its patently unconstitutional policy of obstructing young immigrant women from accessing abortion.

Last September, a 17-year-old woman known as Jane Doe arrived in the United States and discovered she was pregnant. Even though she repeatedly made it clear that she wanted an abortion, had received a decision from a state court judge waiving Texas’s requirement that she first obtain parental consent, and had access to private funding, the government refused to allow her to leave the shelter where she was staying to attend any abortion-related appointments.

We took the administration to court and won. Jane successfully obtained emergency relief from a Washington D.C. district court and was able to get her abortion. The government challenged that decision and it wound up before a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that included Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who issued a decision allowing the Trump administration to continue to block Jane’s access to abortion. Fortunately, his decision was later overturned by the full panel of the appeals court.

In the weeks and months that followed, we heard about more young immigrant women who wanted abortions, but were being prevented by the federal government from getting them. We asked the court to certify these young women as a class and in March of 2018, the Washington D.C. district court issued an order temporarily blocking the Trump administration from enforcing its ban on abortion against all pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minors in its custody. Not unexpectedly, the government appealed the decision, which is why we were back in court before a three-judge panel of the D.C. appeals court earlier this week.

During the two-and-a-half hour hearing, the government doubled down on its absurd position that its ban on abortion is constitutional. The government’s lawyer claimed that by preventing young women from leaving shelters to access abortion, the government was not placing a substantial obstacle in the way of them getting abortions, because the young women have the “option” of voluntarily departing the U.S. and returning to their home countries. In other words, “Go back to where you came from if you don’t like the fact that we are violating your constitutional rights.”

The Trump administration’s rationale is absurd, not least because the voluntary departure process is lengthy. If a minor were to opt for voluntary deportation, it would force her to delay obtaining an abortion at increasing risk to her health, possibly pushing her past the point where she can have an abortion entirely, and thereby forcing her to carry her pregnancy to term.  It also completely ignores that many minors come to the U.S. fleeing abuse and persecution in their home countries.

The government also argued that it should be allowed to prevent a minor from accessing the time-sensitive care she desires for an unspecified period of time while it continues to search for and reunite her with a sponsor. That too is an absurd proposition because the Constitution does not permit the government to outright block a minor from obtaining an abortion while it continues to search for a sponsor who may never materialize.  

As we said in court on Wednesday, the government’s policy, which amounts to “[a] blanket ban on abortion for anyone while they’re in government custody,” is blatantly unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade and decades of subsequent Supreme Court precedent concerning the right to abortion.

With argument over, we now await the federal appeals court decision. Fortunately, in the meantime, the district court’s injunction remains in place, protecting all pregnant unaccompanied minors going forward from the government’s unconstitutional policy. We’re hopeful the appeals court will rule in favor of the Janes, but even if it does, we still have work to do.

The current injunction is only a temporary solution — its purpose is to prevent the government from inflicting additional harm on additional young women during the time it takes the district court to decide whether to strike down the government’s policy permanently. This means we’ll soon be back in the district court, fighting to make sure that the government’s abortion ban is struck down for good.

More information about the case is available at:

View comments (13)
Read the Terms of Use

Mary G.

This certainly gives us evidence as to how Judge Kavanaugh will vote on SCOTUS when the next challenge to Roe vs Wade comes up...and it will.
It is abhorrent to me, as it should be to all Americans, that the federal government can interfere with a woman's right to choose.
We need more gender diversity on SCOTUS, as well as all other courts, and all branches of government.


I was thinking the other day, if as a religious rights person I had a problem with sinning using my eye -- could I go to the doctor and with my insurance have them remove it at my request? In fact, if my religious freedom was a consideration and my hand was causing me to repeatedly sin, could I use my insurance to go to the doctors office and schedule surgery to have it cut off? After all, that my eye was causing me to lust, or my hand causing me to sin, isn't it my right to have it cut out/off to benefit my soul's salvation? At what point does this become absurd?

The religious significance of saving YOUR soul, if you are considering removing a zygote before it has an opportunity to form a human is what Pro-Life supporters are seeking. They really don't care about the child, as you can see in so many ways in their behavior about children who are presently in this world, they are trying to save your soul even to the extent of not allowing you access to birth control. They don't think you should have the right to choose! They believe they know better about your salvation than you do, so they'd prefer to change the law to save you from your sinful self.

Martin del Mazo

Okay so we are discussing the situation where someone fleeing tyranny in thier home country, arrives at the border seeking shelter in the US, so far I’m completely supportive. Upon arriving this refugee from a failed state, totalitarian regime, or just some random shithole nation seeks what is essentially equitable relief ie asylum to remain in this Country. I’m cool with that too. But a line is crossed when this individual who has placed so much faith in the generosity of this country then demands and expects me to foot the bill for mudering their own child. Call me old fashioned but if you what compassion maybe you should be willing to give a little of it from time to time.


Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, and we'll spill the blood of your little boy or girl in the womb, because we demonically believe in power to attain a better world through spilling innocent blood.

Scripture passages which speak of our humanity in the womb...........

And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger thanthe other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. " - Genesis 25:22-24

• "Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?" - Job 31:15

• "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written,which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." - Psalm 139:14-18

• "He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all." - Ecclesiastes 11:4-5

• "Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen." - Isaiah 44:1-2

• "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;" - Isaiah 44:24

• "Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far;The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name...And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to behis servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength." - Isaiah 49:1,5

• "Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." - Jeremiah 1:4-5

• "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;" - Hosea 12:3-4

• "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost...For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy." - Luke 1:41,44


If all your points are true, and you're bound by their scriptural significance, why do Republicans Evangelicals make children poorer, refuse to aid them during asylum and place them in bondage, and why do Conservatives restrict education budgets for their schooling? I have to manage a couple other points: why do Catholic priests sexually abuse children? And why did Conservative oversight of the Olympics allow the molestation of female gymnasts? Why are you people so hypocritical on the facts, while living so sanctimoniously in you faith and ideals? Why are men of faith such misogynists, did God tell them that that would get them into heaven?

You know, if you were a spiritual person you'd recognize that if Americans were developing relationships, families, and support groups -- to help those in need who may not have the wherewithal to support their family, then people WOULD NOT CHOOSE ABORTION over the magnanimous environment created to support another family member and contributor to society, assuming that there isn't a medical reason involved.

But you'll state at the same time you sit on your high-horse, 'those people' shouldn't get any support within governmental institutions, because that's stealing your hard earned money through taxation and it's not fair. Your love of mammon is noted and makes your biblical references moot.




You are right. Illegal aliens come and want the AMERICAN TAXPAYERS pay for everything. They think they should be treated like they are royalty when they break the law. When they leave tons and tons of trash in ARIZONA desert and taxpayers in Arizona have pay for their trash and everything else. ACLU is not for AMERICAN CITIZENS only for ILLEGAL ALIENS who break the laws. Send all the young Illegal aliens home to get their abortion in their own countries and with parents approval.


Why should taxpayers be held for these illegals. They are not citizens of this country and ACLU means American civil liberty union not alien civil liberty union


Political civility is not the norm these days, only rancor and manipulation by Trump supported antagonists carry the day in politics. Like Graham in the Kavanaugh Senate review, they scream, belittle, accuse, and are just unhinged about the truth.

These days, I am disinclined to support the need to speak "truth to power." This really doesn't make sense in the least. Truth IS power. What is happening is speaking truth to authoritarianism and tyranny. The power of truth will overwhelm the lies from such reprobates who abuse their authority in our government's institutions.

And just a final note: I am wondering what is up with Lindsey Graham and Ran Paul since they've come back from visiting Russia a couple months ago. They have gone full Trumpettes without merit.


Trump usually does not know what he is talking about


Stay Informed