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Supreme Court vacates 'Jane Doe' immigrant abortion decision

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court on Monday vacated [opinion, PDF] a decision [JURIST report] that allowed undocumented immigrant "Jane Doe" to seek an abortion.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's decision [opinion, PDF] was vacated as a Munsingwear vacatur. This means that the case became moot by an act of the winning party while on its way to the higher court. So, because the losing party lost the chance of a favorable appeal, the court rules that the case no longer holds precedent.

Here, Munsingwear was applicable because Doe received an abortion the day after the DC Circuit ruled. Therefore, the government filed a petition for certiorari, arguing the case was moot and the DC Circuit decision should not remain good law. The Supreme Court agreed.

However, the court rejected sanctions against Doe's lawyers who were accused of misleading the government about when Doe would obtain her abortion. Apparently, the government was told the abortion would happen on October 26, 2017, which would allow time to file an emergency stay to pause the abortion to allow for an appeal. But, on the night of October 25, Doe received the abortion. The government accused Doe's lawyers of "'material misrepresentations and omissions' that were 'designed to thwart this Court's review.'"

For now, the Office of Refugee Resettlement's (ORR) [official website] policy will remain in place. Therefore minors in the ORR's custody will not be allowed to receive an abortion absent an emergency or approval from the Director of ORR.

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