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Appeals court puts immigrant abortion order on hold

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas. Associated Press/Photo by Eric Gay (pool, file)

Appeals court puts immigrant abortion order on hold

A federal appeals court on Thursday put a temporary hold on a lower court ruling that demanded immigration officials help a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant get an abortion. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will hear arguments in the case Friday. Officials at the Texas facility where the girl is detained wouldn’t transport her to an abortion center or allow anyone else to take her. Instead, they took her to a crisis pregnancy center. The girl claimed she didn’t “want to be forced to carry a pregnancy to term,” and the American Civil Liberties Union sued on her behalf. She is about 15 weeks pregnant. After a federal district judge ruled in the girl’s favor Wednesday, government lawyers immediately filed an appeal. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Stewart argued “the government is entitled to favor childbirth” and should not be forced to facilitate abortions. He also noted the girl could return to her home country and get an abortion there. Scott Lloyd, who directs the federal department that oversees facilities for unaccompanied minors, told a co-worker that facilities getting government funding “should not be supporting abortion services,” according to an email obtained by the ACLU. The Department of Health and Human Services called Wednesday’s ruling “troubling” and said its lawyers would consider “next steps to ensure our country does not become an open sanctuary for taxpayer-supported abortions by minors crossing the border illegally.”

Leigh Jones

Leigh is acting managing editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.


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