Justice Department says was misled by pregnant immigrant teen's lawyers

  • Justice Department says was misled by pregnant immigrant teen's lawyers

Justice Department says was misled by pregnant immigrant teen's lawyers

"After informing Justice Department attorneys that the procedure would occur on October 26th, Jane Doe's attorneys scheduled the abortion for the early morning hours of October 25th, thereby thwarting Supreme Court review".

Texas state officials, who strongly oppose abortion, are expected to enter the case now in the Supreme Court to urge the Justices to rule that a non-citizen who has entered the country illegally does not have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. The Justice Department says the ACLU lawyers were aware of its plans to seek a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court that same day.

In a cert petition (PDF) filed Friday, the government says discipline may be warranted against the ACLU lawyers, the National Law Journal (sub. req.), the Washington Post and BuzzFeed News report.

ACLU Legal Director David Cole responded to the news Friday arguing that it was Jane Doe's lawyers "job" to "see that she wasn't delayed any further". "That government lawyers failed to seek judicial review quickly enough is their fault, not ours", Cole said in a statement.

A new ORR policy, instituted under the Trump administration, bars unaccompanied, undocumented minors from getting abortions without permission from the director of ORR.

"We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every young woman like Jane", he said.

Doe had the counseling session earlier [in October], after a district court ordered the government to allow her to do so. But that didn't end the legal battle. Her lawyers said she realized she was pregnant after her arrival and detention at a government-funded facility in Texas.

The ACLU deceived the government in a highly publicized abortion case involving an illegal immigrant teen and her unborn baby, the Trump administration said Friday. According to the Justice Department's brief, lawyers for the A.C.L.U. initially indicated that the abortion would take place on October 26. If she wanted the abortion, the government said, she could leave the country voluntarily or find a custodial sponsor. That judge issued an order allowing Doe to have the abortion.

According to the report, the shelter took "Jane Doe" to a pro-life pregnancy resource center instead.

They also pointed out that the Catholic Church in Texas has provided assistance and shelter to unaccompanied immigrant minors, refugees and pregnant mothers for decades.

Lloyd said that "grantees should not be supporting abortion services ... only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling". Lloyd refused to give a yes or no answer to a congresswoman who asked last week whether he had done so.

The Trump administration argued previously that while the girl from an unidentified country was in federal custody, she was subject to its policy of refusing to facilitate abortions.

Although it said government lawyers had told the attorneys for "Jane Doe" that it was planning to ask the Supreme Court to step in to postpone the lower courts' decisions, the petition said the government was stymied in that effort by the other lawyers' failure to keep the government informed as they had promised.

The ACLU said in a statement that the government was seeking to deflect blame for its failure to appeal in time.

Lawyers for the ACLU are representing the teen, who is from Central America and is under federal custody in a shelter in Brownsville, Texas.

"At that point, by their own account, Ms. Doe's representatives did three things: they secured the services of Ms. Doe's original physician, moved her appointment from 7:30 to 4:15 a.m. on the morning of October 25, and changed the appointment from counseling to an abortion", the petition alleges.

"The government recognizes that respondent's counsel have a duty to zealously advocate on behalf of their client, but they also have duties to this Court and to the bar", the DOJ filing reads.