A federal judge ruled on Monday that two pregnant, undocumented teens who are currently being held in immigration detention centers can’t be barred by the federal government from receiving abortions.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a case on behalf of the two young women, known as Jane Roe and Jane Poe, on Friday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In court filings, the ACLU sought a restraining order against acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric D. Hargan for obstructing the teens’ access to abortions.
Judge Tanya Chutkan granted the ACLU a restraining order on Monday, ruling that the government had violated the teenagers’ constitutional rights. Chutkan had previously ruled that another undocumented teen, dubbed Jane Doe, should be allowed to receive an abortion—which she later did.
Chutkan’s ruling also specified that the two teenagers must be allowed to leave the Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters where they are currently held so that they can receive abortions.
Both girls are 17; Roe is 10 weeks pregnant, while Poe is 22 weeks pregnant. Depending on where she is being held, which the ACLU has not released, Poe might only have a short amount of time before she can no longer receive an abortion under varying state laws. According to court documents, the procedure will be paid for by a third party sponsor.
The ACLU released a statement praising Chutkan’s decision on Monday. “The judge’s decision is a reminder that both the law and justice are on our side,” said ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project senior attorney Brigitte Amiri. We’ve already seen the courts rule in favor of Jane Doe, and today justice prevailed for two more young women like her.”
HHS contended that both women could “voluntarily depart to [their] home country” to receive an abortion. “We are deeply disappointed in the decision to grant a temporary restraining order that will compel HHS to facilitate abortions for minors when they are not medically necessary,” HHS said in a statement.
Shortly after Chutkan’s decision was announced, the Trump administration went straight to the Supreme Court to halt her decision.