On Monday, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to block another teenage illegal immigrant from getting an abortion.
Politico.com reports that the move comes only hours after a federal judge ordered the administration to stand down. In a Tuesday decision, the courts demanded that immigration officials allow two undocumented 17-year old girls to terminate their pregnancies.
Both minors are being held in separate facilities, with the first having sued to pursue an abortion in October. Federal officials recently gave up on her case, but have persisted in another.
A stay application filed by the Trump administration with the Supreme Court on Monday night details how and why the government believes this case is different from the last. Solicitor General Noel Francisco argues that the other girl “is only about 10 weeks pregnant,” and that efforts to find a sponsor willing to remove her from federal custody could be completed within fourteen days.
“A stay here would preserve the status quo pending further adjudication […] and would ensure that this court need not choose ‘between Justice on the fly’ and ‘participation in what may be an idle ceremony,’” said Francisco.
A Monday order issued by Judge Tanya Chutkan has sent the administration into overdrive in its attempts to control the ability of undocumented immigrants to pursue abortion services.
While Chutkan didn’t provide a lengthy explanation for her decision, she wrote there was a “need to preserve [the teens’] constitutional right to decide whether to carry their pregnancies to term.”
Chutkan, an Obama-era appointee, says the cases hardly differ. The judge claims that the legal issues she and an appellate court ruled on in October are too similar for distinction, rendering the administration’s request for a stay redundant.
Before October, government officials were busy arguing that the federal government had no responsibility to fund or ‘facilitate’ an abortion wanted by an undocumented immigrant. Even after the 17-year old girl raised funds to terminate her pregnancy independently, the administration requested that she either be released to the custody of a sponsor or be subject to counseling on the repercussions of receiving an elective abortion.
Both teenage girls are in states which do not require that minors obtain their parents’ consent for abortion.
“We are deeply disappointed in the decision to grant a temporary restraining order that will compel HHS to facilitate abortions for minors when they are not medically necessary,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, which has custody over the teens under federal law.
“A pregnant minor who has entered the country illegally has the option to voluntarily depart to her home country or identify a suitable sponsor. HHS-funded facilities that provide temporary shelter and care for unaccompanied alien minors should not become way stations for these children to get taxpayer-facilitated abortions.”
However, the first 17-year old independently obtained funds for her abortion, while the second is being held to the same condition.
Department of Health and Human Service officials have tried arguing that, because the second girl requested an abortion before changing her mind and then reverting again, she should be barred from obtaining the procedure.
Chutkan argued that a simple change of mind was no grounds to deny access to the service.
“Every decision to terminate a pregnancy is a difficult one,” the judge said. “That doesn’t mean because she arrived at her decision after a struggle, that’s less of a right.”