Undocumented teenager seeks court authorization for abortion

(TexasTribune) – A pregnant, 17-year-old, undocumented immigrant is at the center of a legal dispute over whether unaccompanied immigrant minors have the right to an abortion in the United States.

Jane Doe, as she’s referred to in court filings, is currently in custody in Texas. She’s seeking an emergency court order authorizing an abortion after the federal government blocked her from accessing a clinic, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing her.

In a news release, the ACLU stated that Doe “is currently being prevented from accessing abortion care because the Trump administration has adopted a new policy that directly prevents unaccompanied immigrant minors from obtaining abortions.” In addition, Doe was forced to go to a religious clinic for counseling and a pregnancy test, according to Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit that provides legal representation for pregnant minors in Texas and is also involved in the case.

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed an amicus brief in the case, which is set to be heard Wednesday in a U.S. District Court in San Francisco. In a Tuesday news release, Paxton’s office said he filed the brief to defend “the federal government’s right to deny access to abortion services to an unlawfully-present minor alien in Texas.”

“If ‘Doe’ prevails in this case, the ruling will create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the U.S. illegally. And with that right, countless others undoubtedly would follow,” Paxton said in the release, adding that “Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions.”

This report prepared by GIULIA AFIUNE for Texas Tribune.