Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose approach to undocumented immigration is exceedingly cruel even by Republican standards, has found a new ideological battle to wage at a very personal level: preventing a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant from seeking an abortion.
A federal judge in San Francisco is set to hear an emergency request today from the woman, who’s identified only as Jane Doe, to access abortion services after the Office of Refugee Resettlement blocked her from attending a pre-abortion medical appointment, The Texas Tribune reported. She could be as many as 14 weeks pregnant.
Doe arrived in the country from Mexico as an unaccompanied minor and was apprehended at the border. According to the ACLU, which is representing Doe in the case, she is currently living in a government-funded shelter in Texas. State law requires parental consent or a judicial waiver for a minor to obtain an abortion and Doe had already obtained the necessary waiver before the federal government intervened, instead referring her to a religiously affiliated “Crisis Pregnancy Center.”
At issue is whether or not undocumented immigrants have the same constitutionally protected right to seek an abortion as U.S. citizens do. The issue is further complicated by the fact that Doe is legally a minor currently in the government’s care, which comes after the Trump administration adopted a policy barring unaccompanied minors from seeking abortions.
“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,” Paxton said in a statement on Tuesday.
He went on to say, in moralizing hyperbole, that if the judge sided with Doe, it would “create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the U.S. illegally.”
In an October 5 legal declaration, Doe made the stakes in the case painfully clear: “I feel like they are trying to coerce me to carry my pregnancy to term.”
“I do not want to be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against my will,” she also wrote.
It’s hard to imagine anything more horrific than Paxton, some white guy you’ve never met, forcing his personal beliefs onto you and your medical decisions. But that’s where we are.