Federal court says Trump officials can't force detained rape victims to give birth


The D.C.Circuit Court said the Trump administration cannot strip minors of their right to access health care.

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that the Trump administration is not allowed to strip immigrant teenagers of their right to access abortions.

"We are unanimous in rejecting the government's position that its denial of abortion access can be squared with Supreme Court precedent," the judges wrote.

The federal court ruled against the Trump administration's "newfound ban [that] applies only to pregnant minors: anyone aged 18 (or older) in immigration custody is allowed to terminate her pregnancy," according to the 81-page ruling. "Minors alone, that is, must carry their pregnancies to term against their wishes."

The ruling cited a case where one girl was raped as she was coming to the United States to seek asylum. "Still, the government sought to compel this minor to carry her rape-induced pregnancy to term," the ruling stated. "Under binding Supreme Court precedent, a person has a constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy before fetal viability, and the government cannot unduly burden her decision."

The ruling was celebrated by the ACLU, which helped bring the case to court.

"The Trump administration's cruel policy of blocking young immigrant women in federal custody from accessing abortion was a blatant abuse of power," Brigitte Amiri, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement. "We will continue fighting to make sure that the Trump administration is permanently blocked from obstructing young immigrant minors' access to crucial health care."

Aside from attempts to deny migrant children access to health care, Trump administration's treatment of young girls in their custody has been troubling for some time. One Trump official who was heading the Office of Refugee Resettlement kept a database tracking the menstrual cycles of girls in custody who were between the ages of 12 to 17, so he could know if and when girls became pregnant. The database also tracked whether pregnancies were the result of consensual sex or sexual abuse, and if any of the girls asked for an abortion.

Trump's policies toward all migrant children have been especially cruel, including policies intended to tear families apart.

Now, once again, a federal court had to step in to end Trump's cruelty aimed at immigrants.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.