WASHINGTON, D.C., June 17, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Trump administration must allow illegal immigrant minors in federal custody to obtain abortions, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
The case stemmed from a 2017 fight over a then-17-year-old girl’s attempts to abort her preborn child, which were being denied by the Trump Health and Human Services Department’s (HHS’s) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The D.C. circuit ruled that the government had to let her leave the detention facility to obtain an abortion. The Supreme Court later vacated that ruling, but not in time to save her child’s life.
The case regarding the broader legal questions continued, and on Friday three D.C. judges ruled that the administration’s policy “functions as an across-the-board ban on access to abortion,” in violation of Supreme Court precedent declaring a “right” to abortion.
“The Supreme Court ‘has determined and then redetermined that the Constitution offers basic protection to the woman’s right to choose,’” the panel claimed. “And we are not free to dilute a constitutional right recognized by controlling Supreme Court precedent—a right the government affirmatively assumes unaccompanied minors here have—so that others will be dissuaded from seeking a better life in this country.”
Pro-abortion activists cheered the ruling while pro-lifers lamented it, warning it could have drastic ramifications. Other conservative legal analysts fault the court for not only relying on Roe v. Wade’s supposed “right” to abortion, but extending that “right” to non-citizens with no lawful claim to be in the United States at all.
“This sweeping ruling seeks to make the United States a sanctuary nation for abortion, forcing the government to facilitate abortions for vulnerable teenage girls who are far from home and from loved ones,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement. “The countries from where these immigrants are flowing are far more protective of unborn children than the United States. We must renew our determination to restore the United States as a haven for babies and their mothers, not a destination for the destruction of the children of any neighbor.”
The Trump ORR’s policy was a dramatic departure from the Obama ORR, which transported underage illegals across state lines to avoid parental involvement laws and facilitate their abortions.
The Trump administration could still appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose newest member, Brett Kavanaugh, was on the D.C. circuit court in 2017 and sided with the Trump administration on the case.