A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to allow a undocumented teenage girl who is in federal custody in South Texas to have an abortion.
The ruling, by US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, came after intense pressure from a number of conservative officials, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, to block the 17-year-old from access to an abortion. The girl, known publicly only as Jane Doe, had previously been given judicial permission to undergo the medical procedure by a state judge, but was forced to pursue further action after she claimed Trump administration officials had prevented the facility where she is staying from allowing her to physically travel to the abortion provider.
According to the ACLU, which represented Doe in her case, she was, however, referred to a religiously affiliated “Crisis Pregnancy Center.”
“I feel like they are trying to coerce me to carry my pregnancy to term,” Doe reportedly told the court, adding that she is not asking the federal officials to pay for the procedure.
Wednesday’s ruling declared that federal officials are “restrained from interfering with or obstructing [Jane Doe’s] access to abortion counseling or an abortion,” and that she must “promptly and without delay” be allowed access to an abortion.
“No federal court has ever declared that unlawfully-present aliens with no substantial ties to this country have a constitutional right to abortion on demand,” Texas AG Paxton said in a statement on the case earlier this month.
Judge Chutkan clearly disagreed, insisting that “Just because she’s here illegally doesn’t mean she doesn’t have constitutional rights.”