Federal court affirms undocumented teen’s right to abortion, but delays the procedure

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A federal appeals court has ruled that a pregnant, undocumented teenage girl being held by immigration authorities in Texas has a right to an abortion, but the judges further delayed her ability to get one, determining that the government does not need to facilitate the procedure. The court has given the girl until October 31 to find a sponsor that can help her facilitate it instead.

The teenager, who has been identified only as Jane Doe, was detained crossing the Mexican border and requested an abortion, but the Trump administration’s Health and Human Services department blocked the request, part of a new policy that prevents unaccompanied immigrant minors from obtaining abortions.

On Thursday, the court temporarily stayed a judge’s ruling that would allow Jane Doe to receive an abortion, and the official ruling came down Friday night.

Jane Doe is already 15 weeks pregnant. Texas does not permit abortions after 20 weeks. If Jane Doe has not secured a sponsor by October 31, the court may re-enter a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or other appropriate order, according to the ruling that came down Friday.

“We note that the Government has assumed, for the purposes of this case, that J.D. … possesses a constitutional right to obtain an abortion in the United States,” Friday’s ruling read.

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