A Washington appeals court is blocking for now an abortion sought by a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant being held in a Texas facility, ruling on Friday that the government should be given time to try to release her so she can obtain the abortion outside of its custody.
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its ruling a few hours after hearing arguments from lawyers for US President Donald Trump’s administration and the teen.
The court ruled 2-1 that the government should have until Oct. 31 to release the girl into the custody of a so-called sponsor, such as an adult relative in the US. If that happens, she could obtain an abortion if she chooses. If she is not released, the case can go back to court.
The judge who dissented wrote that the court’s ruling means the teen will be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy for “multiple more weeks.”
The teen, whose name and country of origin have been withheld because she is a minor, is 15 weeks pregnant.
She entered the US last month and learned she was pregnant while in custody in Texas.
She obtained a court order Sept. 25 permitting her to have an abortion, but federal officials have refused to transport her or temporarily release her so that others may take her to have an abortion.
A lower federal court ruled earlier this week that she should be able to obtain an abortion on Friday or yesterday, but the government appealed.
Federal health officials said in a statement on Friday after the ruling that for “however much time” they are given they “will protect the well-being of this minor and all children and their babies” in their facilities.
Susan Hays, legal director of the Texas group Jane’s Due Process, which works with pregnant minors seeking an abortion and had offered to help pay for the teen’s abortion, said the court appeared to be “punting” the final decision on whether the teenager would be entitled to an abortion.
Brigitte Amiri, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented the teen in court, said in a statement after the ruling that the group is “investigating all avenues to get justice for her.”
“Justice is delayed yet again for this courageous and persistent young woman. She continues to be held hostage and prevented from getting an abortion because the Trump administration disagrees with her personal decision,” Amiri said. “Our client and women across this country should be able to access a safe, legal abortion without federal officials stepping in to interfere.”
The teen’s lawyers have argued that even a brief delay in allowing her to obtain an abortion could mean she may need a more complex procedure, one possibly not available in the region where she lives.
If that happens, she could have to travel hundreds of kilometers to obtain an abortion, and if her case drags on she could lose her right to an abortion all together, her lawyers said.
Texas law bans most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.
During arguments at the appeals court on Friday morning, Amiri told the judges that all the government needed to do was “get out of the way.”
An attorney appointed to represent the teen’s interests had said she could transport her to and from appointments necessary for the procedure, and the federal government would not have to pay for it.
VULNERABLE: Many women do not report sexual harassment by their landlord over fears they could lose the roof over their head, an expert said A growing number of landlords are asking tenants for sex in exchange for housing as COVID-19 lockdowns and job cuts have left many struggling to pay their rent, housing experts said. A survey by the National Fair Housing Alliance of more than 100 fair housing groups combating discrimination across the US found that 13 percent had seen an increase in sexual harassment complaints during the pandemic. “If I did not have sex with him, he was going to put me out,” one woman facing eviction by her property manager told the alliance in an podcast on its Web site. “As a single
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES? An institute of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security and a company are to be sanctioned over ‘human rights violations and abuses’ The US Department of Commerce on Friday said that it would sanction a Chinese government institute and eight companies over alleged human rights abuses against Uighurs and other minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region. “These nine parties are complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” the department said in a statement. The Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science and Aksu Huafu Textiles Co are to be sanctioned “for
‘OBVIOUS DIFFERENCE’: The Wuhan Institute of Virology has been researching bat coronaviruses to trace the SARS pathogen, which is 80 percent similar to SARS-CoV-2 The Chinese virology institute in the city where COVID-19 first emerged has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking havoc around the world, its director has said. Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal. However, the director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster China Global Television Network that claims made by US President Donald Trump and others that the novel coronavirus could have escaped from the facility were
Former US vice president Joe Biden on Friday said he “should not have been so cavalier” after he told a radio host that African Americans who back US President Donald Trump “ain’t black.” In a call with the US Black Chamber of Commerce that was added to his public schedule, Biden said he would never “take the African American community for granted.” “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy,” Biden said. “No one should have to vote for any party based on their race or religion or background.” Biden faced criticism after his comments earlier on Friday on The Breakfast Club, a