Do Migrant Teenagers Have Abortion Rights? Two Volatile Issues Collide in Court

In Healthcare, IMMIGRATION -- articles only, Judiciary and Courts On

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is claiming broad new authority to block access to abortions sought by undocumented immigrants under age 18 who are in its custody.

In a case that brings together two of the most volatile issues in American society, immigration and abortion, the Justice Department argued this past week before a federal appeals court that the government “has a strong, legitimate and profound interest in the life of the child in the womb.”

But a lawyer for the young immigrants said that federal efforts to restrict their access to abortion were “blatantly unconstitutional,” and that Congress had never given the administration “statutory authority to veto a minor’s abortion decision.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is hearing the case after a district court judge ruled in March that the Trump administration policy was probably illegal because it violated Supreme Court precedents on abortion and nullified a young woman’s “right to make her own reproductive choices.” The judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, issued a preliminary injunction that prohibits the government from obstructing or interfering with a pregnant minor’s access to abortion services or counseling.

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