October 25, 2017
When 17-year-old Jane Doe snuck across the U.S. border, she wanted a new life -- just not the one she was carrying. When she was caught, officials put her in federal custody where they found out that the young girl was not only pregnant, but wanted an abortion. Her caregivers at the Texas shelter, part of HHS's refugee program, refused, citing a long list of reasons -- not the least of which that she's a minor in the country illegally who doesn't have her parents' consent.
The Left got wind of the girl's case and pounced, calling in high-powered attorneys at the ACLU to fight for liberals' ultimate goal: making taxpayer-funded abortion a gift to every undocumented teen. (That was certainly the position of Barack Obama, who relaxed the immigration and customs policy so much that some detainees were probably coming here just for the free birth control, abortions, and hormone therapy!) When the ACLU sued, the Trump administration fought back, insisting that it has "strong and constitutionally legitimate interests in promoting childbirth, in refusing to facilitate abortion, and in not providing incentives for pregnant minors to cross the border to obtain elective abortions in federal custody."
After ping-ponging through the courts at a frantic pace (Texas outlaws abortion at 20 weeks, and this young mom was already at 16), the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals dropped the latest bombshell yesterday, ruling 6-3 to turn America into a sanctuary nation for abortion and ordering that girl be transported for an abortion immediately. Early this morning, before the Trump administration had a chance to intervene, she was. And an innocent child, who should have been safe on American soil, became the very real casualty of an activist court doing the bidding of heartless, lawless liberals.
Writing for the majority, Judge Patricia Millet claimed there was not "a remotely constitutionally sufficient reason for depriving [Jane Doe] of any control over this most intimate and life-altering decision. The court today correctly recognizes that J.D.'s unchallenged right under the Due Process Clause affords this 17-year-old a modicum of the dignity, sense of self-worth, and control over her own destiny that life seems to have so far denied her."
Without pausing to sense the irony of her next words, she says, "Remember, we are talking about a child here." Yes, Judge Millet, we are talking about a child. A defenseless, vulnerable, unborn child in the womb, who had a stronger legal right to life in America than anyone. For the Justice Department, whose Friday victory was overturned by the full court, it was a devastating blow – one that even Millet's fellow judges couldn't understand.
In a fierce dissent, Judge Karen Henderson could barely contain her anger that anyone, let alone her own colleagues, would believe that anyone who entered the country illegally should have the constitutional rights of full-fledged citizens. "The government has inexplicably and wrongheadedly failed to take a position on that… question. I say wrongheadedly, because at least to me the answer is plainly -- and easily -- no. To conclude otherwise rewards lawlessness and erases the fundamental difference between citizenship and illegal presence in our country." That was the exact argument eight other states (including Texas) made in the case in a powerful brief about the devastating fallout of a ruling like yesterday's.
Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina all weighed in on the side of this unborn baby, making it clear that if the courts grant this girl's request, there's no limit to what illegal immigrants could demand.
In this case, Plaintiff asks the Court to declare that the U.S. Constitution confers on unlawfully-present aliens the absolute right to an abortion on demand even when they have no ties to this country other than the fact of their arrest while attempting to cross the border unlawfully. As far as amici can ascertain, no court has ever issued such a sweeping order -- and with good reason. If the Court grants the requested relief, there will be no meaningful limit on the constitutional rights an unlawfully-present alien can invoke simply by attempting to enter this country. …If on the facts of this case Doe has a Fifth Amendment right to an abortion, it is hard to imagine why she could be denied any other constitutional rights -- such as the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
They're right. Why would anyone go through the hassle of naturalization if the courts are going to give illegal immigrants the same rights as citizens anyway? All this court is doing is incentivizing lawbreaking. As for this young girl, she wasn't being helped by the Left -- she was being exploited by it. Isolated from her family and in a completely foreign land, this childless mother doesn't know where she's going and what her future is. Her attorneys weren't talking to her about the long-term effects of this decision or the lifetime of regret and pain she'll have as a result.
Do you think Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards saw the emotional and physical trauma this abortion would cause? Of course not. She saw dollar signs. Don't be fooled by the liberal soundbites and rallies about this mother's "rights." To Richards and all of her cronies, this is about business -- an untapped source of future abortion customers, streaming across the border into their waiting rooms. "Good," Richards tweeted about the baby's court-ordered death sentence. "Every woman deserves access to basic health care, including abortion, regardless of her immigration status."
The bottom line is that this girl is here because of the government's failed policy on immigration. Now, that same government is trying to act like a surrogate parent, while the courts, in their ivory tower, insist they know better than the law. Now, the fight will go on to save other immigrants from this same fate. Jane Doe crossed the border looking for a safe space. What an incredible tragedy that our courts couldn't provide one for the child she brought with her.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.