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Two Undocumented Teens Denied Abortions, ACLU Says


FILE - Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in Washington, Oct. 20, 2017, in support of a pregnant 17-year-old, who was being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children, in her effort to obtain an abortion. The teen later was able to obtain her abortion.

Two pregnant girls who arrived in the country as unaccompanied minors are suing the Trump administration for blocking them from obtaining abortions, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

The two 17-year-olds are being detained in federal immigration centers, but the ACLU did not give a specific location Friday.

"Both minors have asked their respective doctors and their shelters for an abortion, but to date," the government has "not allowed them to access abortion," the ACLU wrote.

The judge overseeing the case has set a hearing for Monday. It is the same judge that ruled in favor of an earlier ACLU plaintiff, called Jane Doe, another undocumented 17-year-old immigrant who is pregnant. The organization filed court papers Friday night updating her case, in which she was granted access to an abortion after a weeks-long battle that escalated to a federal appeals court.

HHS policy

Department of Health and Human Services attorneys say the government agency has a policy of "refusing to facilitate" abortions.

HHS is responsible for giving temporary housing to children who illegally crossed any U.S. border unaccompanied by a parent.

Court documents refer to the minors in the more recent case as Jane Roe and Jane Poe.

Jane Roe found she was pregnant during a medical examination in November. She was already in federal custody.

The ACLU wrote that the girl decided to have an abortion but was not allowed to obtain it.

"[Jane] Roe learned she was pregnant approximately three weeks ago and, after being counseled about her options, asked for an abortion," documents show.

Similarly, Jane Poe requested an abortion last week after her doctor told her she was "quickly approaching the point in her pregnancy after which she will no longer be able to obtain an abortion in the state where she is located."

The ACLU wrote that the teen wanted to end her pregnancy by taking medication to cause a miscarriage. Because of the government's "obstruction she is now past the point in pregnancy where she can have a medication abortion." She is about 10 weeks pregnant, a court document says.

"If the court does not intervene, Ms. Roe and Ms. Poe will be forced to carry to term against their will," ACLU lawyers wrote.

Documents also show private funds are expected to be used to pay for both procedures.

"In other words, the costs are covered, the logistics related to the transfer of Ms. Roe and Ms. Poe to their respective abortion providers will be handled by their shelters, and any necessary post-procedure care will be handled by the shelters in conjunction with Ms. Roe's and Ms. Poe's medical providers," one of the documents reads.

Earlier case

The Jane Doe case ended when Doe, at the end of October, obtained permission from a state judge, in lieu of parental consent, and raised private money to pay for the procedure.

Doe has been detained in a refugee shelter in Brownsville, Texas, since September 11, when she was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.

At first, federal officials refused to transport Doe or temporarily release her so that others could take her to get the procedure. Reports say the Trump administration accused the ACLU lawyers of misleading the government during the case.

The administration also said ACLU attorneys' actions blocked government lawyers from the opportunity to ask the Supreme Court to stop the procedure, at least temporarily.

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