The whole case is a good example of what can happen when two of the Trump administration's ideological impulses - fighting reproductive rights and incarcerating undocumented immigrants - come together.
Usually, if the abortion is for a minor, parental consent or a judge's approval is needed.
Under President Donald Trump, the Office of Refugee Resettlement has implemented policies against allowing abortions for the minors in its care. Instead, he has ordered shelters to take these young women to "crisis pregnancy centers", where they are "counseled" out of their decisions. If she's 15 weeks pregnant now and got here six or seven weeks ago, it's very likely she knew of her pregnancy and came to the U.S. to have the abortion. Jane Doe was required to go to a crisis pregnancy center, where she was forced to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound.
"There is no constitutional right for a pregnant minor to illegally cross the USA border and get an elective abortion while in federal custody", the agency said after the hearing. "Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions". That included scheduling appointments or transportation or arranging for minors to get counseling that included information about abortion.
The case originated in Texas and was brought to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the American Civil Liberties Union.
"The D.C. Circuit made the right decision to temporarily stay the district court's order, which contradicts U.S. Supreme Court precedent and harms the public interest because it effectively creates a right to abortion for anyone who entered the U.S. illegally, no matter how briefly", Paxton said in a news release.
The appeals court order will allow Jane Doe to go to a pre-abortion counseling appointment, but halts the piece of the ruling requiring the government to allow her to get the procedure on Friday or Saturday. Brigitte Amiri, a lawyer with the ACLU representing the unaccompanied minor, said that the government's arguments could have ramifications not just for minors, but possibly adult women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, who were in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It claims that Doe has two ways to terminate her pregnancy: She can find "a suitable sponsor in the USA who is willing to take temporary custody" of her, or she can "voluntary depar [t] back to her home country".
According to The Washington Post, "Late Wednesday, however, the Justice Department appealed the case, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to stay District Judge Tanya Chutkan's ruling".
The panel of judges that will decide Doe's fate on Friday includes one progressive judge, one severely conservative judge, and one moderate.
HHS argued to the appeals court that the department had a policy of "refusing to facilitate abortions" except in "very limited circumstances". She is now 15 weeks pregnant, and Texas bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Chutkan interrupted him: "You mentioned that five times" in filings, she said.