Young Immigrant Women Have the Right to Access Abortion. Monday’s Supreme Court Decision Doesn’t Change That.

UPDATE: After the Supreme Court ruling this morning, a federal appeals court on Monday night rejected the Trump administration's request to continue its policy of prohibiting immigrant minors from accessing abortion care while its appeal is pending. The text has been changed to reflect breaking news. 

There has been a lot of confusion about Monday’s Supreme Court decision in the Jane Doe case, Azar v. Garza, but here are two big takeaways to clear things up.

First, the ruling was limited to the case of one young woman, who already had her abortion. There is still a court order in place that prohibits the government from obstructing or interfering with unaccompanied minors’ access to abortion, and today’s decision does not change that. Second, the Supreme Court rejected the government’s baseless request to find that my colleagues and I acted unethically. 

As to the first point, it is critically important to understand what the order does and does not do. It does vacate Jane Doe’s individual victory in the court of appeals that paved the way for her to obtain an abortion. But Jane Doe has already obtained her abortion. The court, therefore, ruled that Jane Doe’s individual claim related to abortion access is now moot. 

The court’s ruling does not affect the ongoing case in any way. It doesn’t diminish the district court’s order that initially blocked the government’s cruel policy for a class of pregnant minors in the government’s custody. It also does not say anything about the constitutional question presented in the underlying case, namely whether the government can violate decades of Supreme Court precedent by banning abortion for unaccompanied minors.

The district court issued an order on March 30, 2018, allowing the case to proceed as a class action and issued a preliminary injunction blocking the government’s no-abortion policy. The government appealed that decision, and it also asked for the court of appeals to allow the policy to go back into effect while the appeal is pending. The court of appeals denied that request this evening, reaffirming that unaccompanied minors must have access to abortion. The briefing on appeal will happen during the summer, and oral argument will take place in September. 

The end goal, in the long run, is to strike down the government’s policy once and for all. 

As to the second issue, the court rejected the government’s request to impose discipline on my colleagues and me for representing our client to the best of our abilities. This is a relief.  The government’s ethics claims have always been baseless, and they are an attempt to intimidate us.

The government continues to do everything in its power to hold young women hostage to prevent them accessing abortion, and we will do everything we can to stop them.

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Connie Connelly

Thank you for standing up for the rights of this young woman, allowing her to fulfill her own decisions affecting her body & her future. She certainly did not need the added pressure of trying to go through a pregnancy & birth not knowing where she will be & how she will care for a child. I followed with interest this Administration's clear Taliban type tactics, circumventing her freedoms to chose a path for her own future & to force her to continue her pregnancy so that she would beyond the weeks allowed for an abortion to be granted. I was beyond appalled.....an American form of Taliban came to mind. She & many like minded people, of which I am one, salute you for your unending battle to uphold a woman's right to choose. Well done, and please keep up the battle to prevent other's religious beliefs from being imposed on all women in the U.S!

Anonymous

hi

Tina

So I posted a comment and you’ll look and decide if it’s acceptable! You, Brigitte are not acceptable in my opinion. You’ll definitely get what you deserve in the end and I’ll find solace in that.

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