[JURIST] Eight states have filed an amicus brief [text, PDF] in a case concerning a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant's attempt to obtain an abortion without parental consent while in government custody. Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and South Carolina argue that minor undocumented immigrants have no right to an abortion in the US because of their immigration status.
The Department of Justice [official website] (DOJ) has already acknowledged [JURIST report] that the issue is moot because the minor, known as Jane Doe, received an abortion on the day following the DC Circuit's ruling that permitted her to obtain the abortion. However, the DOJ maintains that 'the appeal was mooted before this Court's review based on the 'unilateral action of the party who prevailed below,'" and therefore asks the Supreme Court to:
apply its longstanding practice of vacating the judgment of the court of appeals and remanding the case to that court with instructions to direct the district court to dismiss all claims that are now moot, i.e., all claims for prospective relief regarding pregnant unaccompanied minors.Jane Doe's counsel is arguing that prohibiting her and other similarly situated individuals' right to an abortion while in custody violates their right to privacy, right to free exercise of religion, and the right to not have their speech compelled. The amicus brief says that whether withholding the abortion violates these rights as "aliens [only] receive constitutional protections when they have come within the territory of the United States and developed substantial connections within this country." As Jane Doe is an undocumented immigrant and never alleged "facts that would establish that Doe has significant ties to this country," the amicus brief argues the constitutional protections raised by Doe do not in fact apply to her.