An appeals court in Washington today held a hearing to assess whether the government of Donald Trump must allow an illegal abortion under 17 who is pregnant for 15 weeks and is being held in a detention center for immigrants.
A three-judge panel of the District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia studied the case today during an hour and a half hearing and said it will issue a “soon” decision.
The judges ordered Thursday to stop the child’s abortion and put the order of another District Court Judge of the District of Columbia in suspense, which had ordered the government to respect the child’s decision and make appropriate arrangements to abort this Friday or Saturday.
The teenager, identified as “Jane Doe” to protect her identity, got a Texas judge’s abortion permit on Sept. 25, but officials who run the detention center in Brownsville, Texas, refused to take her to a medical facility to get the procedure.
During the hearing today, the Government defended that it is not preventing the minor from deciding on the end of his pregnancy, a right that the Supreme Court recognized in 1973 in determining that the State can not interfere in the decision of the woman nor impose ” excessive loads “to make abortion difficult.
“The government is not imposing any type of obstruction to the abortion, it is not imposing any excessive load, what it is doing is not facilitating it”, defended the prosecutor Catherine Dorsey.
Thus, Dorsey argued that the Government is not violating the rights of the child because it offers two options: return to the country from which it has fled to obtain an abortion or obtain custody of a guardian so that it can be released from the detention center and then end your pregnancy.
“We just do not want to facilitate abortion, but we’re not stopping it,” Dorsey said.
The judges asked the parties many questions as to whether it is possible for the child to be released from the detention center and to be placed in the custody of a guardian, which would enable her to terminate her pregnancy and avoid conflict with the Government, would have to “facilitate” abortion.
According to the lawyer of the minor, Brigitte Amiri, several tutors have offered to take care of the minor, but the government has rejected them, thus preventing access to abortion.
The Government’s own representative, Dorsey, acknowledged that the process to release a child from a detention center may take time because guardians have to pass a number of security controls, including, for example, visits to their children. homes and criminal background checks.
However, he said that, in this case, it could be done “relatively quickly,” although he declined to give more specific data.
Time is a very important factor because the minor, who was arrested on September 7 on the US-Mexico border, is 15 weeks pregnant and Texas law states that a woman can only abort before the age of 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Laws in Texas, one of the most conservative states in the United States, also determine that a woman can only abort after 24 hours of advice received by a doctor.
The teenager has already received the advice of a doctor, so it could abort this very Saturday.
The details of the child’s identity are under secrecy, but today during the hearing the prosecutor indicated that his country of origin does not allow abortion.
The case has gained national prominence because of the consequences it might have for future adolescents living in detention centers, where the authorities detain immigrants who cross the border irregularly or foreigners who report crimes and are deported.
A group of four Democratic senators, led by Bob Menendez, the highest-ranking Latino in the Senate, today sent a letter to the acting secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Eric D. Hargan, to demand that he allow abortion less.
“These young women often face traumas and unimaginable dangers when they come to this country fleeing violent situations in their countries of origin,” the senators maintain in their letter, in which they ask the Government to fulfill its constitutional duty and allow abortion to the less.
They address their letter to the Department of Health and Human Services because this is the institution within the Government that is responsible for the custody of children who arrive irregularly to the US.