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ACLU asks court to reconsider teen immigrant abortion case

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] asked [press release] the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Monday to reconsider the denial of an abortion for a pregnant 17-year-old, identified as Jane Doe, being held in a Texas immigration facility.

Doe is 15 weeks pregnant and has been seeking an abortion for several weeks. A federal judge gave her approval, but on Friday, a three-judge panel of the appeals court temporarily blocked [JURIST report] the lower court's ruling in order to give the government more time to try to release the teen so she can obtain the abortion outside of government custody. The Department of Health and Human Services [official website] and other federal and state officials claim that the teenager has no inherent right [NPR report] to an elective abortion in the US because of her lack of legal status as an undocumented immigrant.

Doe "is not seeking any assistance" from the government to get the abortion, the ACLU wrote in the emergency petition for rehearing en banc [text]. "Her court-appointed representatives or the shelter personnel stand ready to transport her; the health center stands ready to provide the care; and private funds have been provided to pay for the procedure. All defendants must do is to step aside and stop blocking the door."

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