Trump administration allows undocumented teens in government custody to have abortions
The Trump administration’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) on Tuesday changed his policy banning federally-held undocumented pregnant teens from having abortions, marking the end of a three-year legal battle.
The ORR, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that oversees undocumented minors and others detained by federal immigration, now orders that pregnant teens in its care must have access to an abortion .
In 2017, the Trump administration effectively adopted a policy that prevented undocumented pregnant teens in federal custody from requesting abortions, even during the first few months of their pregnancy. A series of court decisions against the administration’s policy forced them to reverse this practice.
The Trump administration filed documents in a lawsuit against it on Tuesday advising the court that he would reverse the abortion policy and pay the American Civil Liberties Union $ 336,710 to cover its legal fees in the case.
“After three years of legal battles alongside courageous young women, we are relieved that the government has finally abandoned its attempts to prevent young people in its care from accessing abortion”, Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU project for the freedom of reproduction, said in a statement. “Today’s policy change corrects one of the wrongs this administration has committed against immigrants in detention, but their health and safety are still seriously threatened.
“To protect reproductive freedom for all, we still have a fight ahead of us, including ensuring that Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land.”
The ACLU lawsuit was on behalf of a then 17-year-old immigrant from Central America who was being held at a federally-funded shelter in South Texas. She was 15 weeks pregnant when a judge ruled that she could have an abortion before the 20-week limit under Texas law, but that decision only applied to her.
“After three years of waiting, I am so happy to know that what happened to me will never happen to anyone else,” she said in a statement via the ACLU.