Donald Trump appears to believe that he is a dictator. Instead of respecting the three branches of government, he tried to run roughshod over all of them: executive, legislative, and judicial. He just requested the judicial branch to do him a favor on abortion, and this is what happened.
His administration contacted the Supreme Court and asked it to block a teenage girl’s abortion, who is in immigration’s custody. Trump stepped onto this branch of government just hours following a federal judge’s order to permit abortions for two pregnant 17-year-old girls. They are in federally funded shelters but in different states.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) housed about 420 pregnant girls in 2017. Of that number, 18 had requested abortions. Five decided not to go through with their abortions, and 11 did have theirs.
Tuesday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan said that the teen could have an abortion. The Justice Department agreed to one girl’s abortion but blocked the other girl’s due to “differing circumstances.” The one they agreed to let have an abortion is about 22 weeks into her pregnancy, which is close to the time for many states’ ban.
Trump’s people filed a stay application for the girl who is ten weeks pregnant, Monday evening. According to POLITICO, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said:
‘(The other girl) is only about 10 weeks pregnant. A stay here would preserve the status quo pending further adjudication…and would ensure that this Court need not choose “between justice on the fly” and “participation in what may be an idle ceremony.”‘
Chutkan, who was appointed by President Barack Obama continued, saying there was:
‘(A) need to preserve (the teens’) constitutional right to decide whether to carry their pregnancies to term.’
Government attorneys have argued the girls could return to their home countries or find someone to take custody of them, but federal officials should not “facilitate” abortions. Unspoken is the question of whether those who come into this country illegally have the right to an abortion.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, which has custody of the teens, said, according to POLITICO:
‘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.’
The spokesperson continued:
‘A pregnant minor who has entered the country illegally has the option to voluntarily depart to her home country or identify a suitable sponsor. HHS-funded facilities that provide temporary shelter and care for unaccompanied alien minors should not become way stations for these children to get taxpayer-facilitated abortions.’
American Civil Liberties Union attorney for the girls seeking abortions, Brigitte Amiri, was pleased with Chutkan’s last ruling:
‘The judge’s decision is a reminder that both the law and justice are on our side. We’ve already seen the courts rule in favor of Jane Doe, and today justice prevailed for two more young women like her. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has shown no indication that they’ll abandon their cruel and dystopian crusade to block abortion access for some of the most marginalized people in our country. We’re prepared to keep fighting for as long as we need to.’
Right after Chutkan’s decision, government attorneys appealed the ruling to the D.C. Circuit. Then, Justice Department attorneys filed for an emergency stay of Chutkan’s ruling for the girl who is 10 weeks pregnant.
Justice Department attorney, August Flentje, said, director of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement, Scott Lloyd, decided the girl who is 22 weeks pregnant should not receive an abortion. His reason was “it would not be in the best interest” of her. His reasons were sealed.
Judge Chutkan added:
‘Every decision to terminate a pregnancy is a difficult one. That doesn’t mean because she arrived at her decision after a struggle, that’s less of a right.’
Featured Image via Getty Images/Drew Angerer.