Less than a day after a federal judge issued an order allowing an undocumented teen to have an abortion, a federal appeals court in Washington temporarily halted the procedure until it can review the case.
On Wednesday, a lower court judge ordered the Trump administration to allow a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant to have an abortion; the unidentified teen, Jane Doe, is currently being held at a federal detention center in Texas. Cruelly determined to prevent the teenager from receiving an abortion, the Justice Department hastily appealed the decision.
An appeals court temporarily blocked the lower court’s ruling on Thursday, Politico reported. While the ruling might appear to be a win for the Trump administration, the presiding panel of three judges emphasized their decision was “administrative” and required for review:
The purpose of this administrative stay is to give the court sufficient opportunity to consider the emergency motion for stay and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits of that motion.
In announcing their decision, the panel of judges scheduled oral arguments for Friday morning. Wednesday’s ruling had allowed the teen to have an abortion as early as Friday or Saturday — she is 15 weeks pregnant. Minors are required to obtain parental consent or a federal waiver before they can obtain abortions, which the teen has already done. She will still be allowed to receive counseling and an ultrasound, draconian measures required by Texas law before a woman obtains an abortion.
Her fate, Politico noted, hinges on a historically right-leaning panel of judges. Presiding over the appeal are two Republican-appointed judges and one Democrat. If the panel does rule in her favor, the Jeff Sessions-helmed Justice Department could appeal the case into oblivion — or until she’s 20 weeks pregnant, after which Texas law bans the procedure.