DOJ Asks Supreme Court to Vacate Ruling That Granted Undocumented Teen Access to Abortion

By Kenrya Rankin Nov 03, 2017

The undocumented teenager known as Jane Doe finally secured an abortion last week after a month of battling the federal government, but it seems the Trump administration is unwilling to let it go.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) asked the Supreme Court today (November 3) to vacate the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision that concluded that the girl was entitled to health care. The DOJ argued that the American Civil Liberties Union attorneys representing Doe did not tell the truth about when she could obtain the abortion, preventing the agency from asking SCOTUS to step in before it happened.

Per The Washington Post, the filing alleges that the lawyers led the government to believe that under Texas law, the girl could not obtain the procedure until October 26, but she secured it on October 25. DOJ Solicitor General Noel Francisco says that is grounds for the decision to be vacated.

From the filing:

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. It appears under the circumstances that those duties may have been violated, and that disciplinary action may therefore be warranted. At the least, this court may wish to seek an explanation from counsel regarding this highly unusual chain of events.

In a statement issued today, ACLU legal director David Cole says the DOJ is reaching with this SCOTUS filing:

This administration has gone to astounding lengths to block this young woman from getting an abortion. Now, because they were unable to stop her, they are raising baseless questions about our conduct. Our lawyers acted in the best interest of our client and in full compliance with the court orders and federal and Texas law. That government lawyers failed to seek judicial review quickly enough is their fault, not ours.

We won’t let this distract us from the real issue here, which is that there are many more young women like Jane Doe out there who are still unable to get the care they need because of the Trump administration’s unconstitutional policies. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every young woman like Jane.