Following the decision of a federal appeals court, a Mexican teenager in Texas has had an abortion, the Associated Press reported Wednesday afternoon.
That abortion was authorized by the U.S. government and paid for by U.S. taxpayers, as the 17-year-old illegal immigrant has been living in a detention center in Brownsville, Texas, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services since she crossed the border from Mexico last month.
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The case has been closely watched by abortion advocates, who argued that by not authorizing or paying for the procedure, the U.S. government would be violating the girl’s right to an abortion. The government argued that it was not preventing the girl from having an abortion, as she was free to leave the detention center and return to Mexico to have an abortion, or could find someone to take responsibility for her in the U.S.
Ken Paxton, the Texas attorney general, filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that Texas risked becoming a sanctuary for abortions if the government was forced to pay for the procedure for Jane Doe, as the teenager was referred to in court documents. Texas was joined on the brief by 11 other states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
Pro-life groups expressed dismay Tuesday at the ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, where a three-judge panel ordered the girl to be taken to a clinic to have an abortion, and sorrow after the news Wednesday that the abortion had taken place.
“Americans United for Life is heartbroken at the loss of the innocent life at the heart of this court battle, and deeply troubled that this baby, yearning to breathe free, was afforded neither a voice in our courts nor the basic dignity and rights inherent to all human beings and due by law to all those on American soil,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, in a statement to the media.
“This is an appalling and unconscionable misuse of taxpayer dollars, and a violation of the principles of the Hyde Amendment. It threatens to conjure a so-called right to immediate abortion on demand from the U.S. Constitution, and to recast America, which has historically aspired to be a haven and place of refuge for the most vulnerable, into a destination for abortions.”
Catholic leaders in Texas had commended the state and federal government for defending the right to life of the unborn child in court, and Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Archdiocese of Brownsville had issued a statement before the ruling on Tuesday, offering to help the mother and her child.
“As the case of Jane Doe is played out in courtrooms, I call upon the local community to keep in mind that there are two vulnerable human lives that will be forever impacted by these legal decisions: one an unaccompanied minor, the other her unborn child,” said Flores. “The local Catholic church, through the Diocese of Brownsville, stands ready at any time to assist the mother and her child with practical support and aid. It is our prayer that the mother may find peace, and her child may be given a chance to live.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), meanwhile, which represented the pregnant teenager, was triumphant in announcing the news that the abortion had been performed.
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“Justice prevailed today for Jane Doe. But make no mistake about it, the administration’s efforts to interfere in women’s decisions won’t stop with Jane,” Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said in a statement on the ACLU’s website. “With this case we have seen the astounding lengths this administration will go to block women from abortion care. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every woman like Jane.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also released a statement calling the abortion tragic and saying it will now make it possible for anyone to cross our border illegally to get an abortion.
“Today’s loss of innocent human life is tragic,” he said. “And it may have been avoidable. The ruling that paved the way for the abortion violated long-standing Supreme Court precedent on the rights of an unlawfully present person. Even the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice acknowledged that unlawfully present aliens without substantial connections to the country lack the same constitutional rights as citizens. This ruling not only cost a life, [but] it could pave the way for anyone outside the United States to unlawfully enter and obtain an abortion. Life and the Constitution are sacred. We lost some of both today.”