Appeals Court Orders Trump Administration to Stop Blocking Young Woman’s Abortion

CONTACT: media@acludc.org

WASHINGTON — An appeals court in Washington D.C. ruled today in favor of a young woman in Texas who has been prevented from getting an abortion for nearly a month by the Trump administration. The ruling is the latest in a protracted legal fight brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in which government officials’ anti-abortion ideology has prohibited a young woman from getting the care she needs. 

The woman, referred to as Jane Doe in the case, is a 17-year-old who came to the United States without her parents and is now being held in a government-funded shelter in Texas under the supervision of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Weeks ago, she decided to end her pregnancy, and the Texas courts gave her authority to do so, but federal officials have refused to allow her to leave the shelter to obtain the abortion.

“Every step of the way, the Trump administration has shown their true colors in this case. It’s clear that their anti-woman, anti-abortion, anti-immigration agenda is unchecked by basic decency or even the bounds of the law,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “No one should have to go to court to get a safe, legal abortion.”

Late Friday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order that sidestepped the serious constitutional questions and allowed the government to further delay her ability to obtain an abortion. Sunday evening, the ACLU filed an emergency petition for en banc review which asks all of the judges on the D.C. Circuit Court to review the panel’s order. Today, the full court granted that request, reversed the panel’s decision, and sent the case back down to the district court for a new order requiring the Trump administration to allow Jane Doe to get the abortion care she wants. 

Attorneys on the case include Amiri, Meagan Burrows, Jennifer Dalven and Daniel Mach from the ACLU; Arthur Spitzer and Scott Michelman of the ACLU of the District of Columbia; Jennifer Chou and Mishan R. Wroe of the ACLU of Northern California; and Melissa Goodman of the ACLU of Southern California.

More information about the case, Garza v. Hargan, is at: https://www.acludc.org/en/cases/garza-v-hargan

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