Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Ruling backs U.S. stance on abortion for detained minors

Abortion | The United States does not have to facilitate abortions for underage illegal immigrants
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 6/11/18, 01:39 pm

For now at least, the U.S. government does not have to facilitate abortions for underage illegal immigrants in federal custody.

In a unanimous opinion released last week, the Supreme Court dismissed a lower court's ruling that the federal government had to facilitate an abortion for a 17-year-old girl held after officials caught her entering the country illegally from Mexico.

“This was a victory,” Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins told me. “It would be a radical expansion of abortion in the U.S. to include in the law all who are on U.S. soil. And while the decision is not the last word on the topic, it held the line.”

In Garza v. Hargan, which some referred to as Roe v. Wade 2.0, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attacked the federal government’s pro-life position. The group pointed to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s constitutional right to abort a baby who could not survive outside the womb. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) argued the government in no way has to promote abortion.

The girl's status as a detainee also brought up the question of whether she has constitutional rights.

“It’s a status in which historically constitutional rights do not automatically apply,” Family Research Council’s Travis Weber told me.

An appeals court ruled last year the government either had to take the girl to an abortion center or release her to someone else to take her. Before the government could file an appeal, ACLU attorneys picked her up and took her to get the abortion. The government argued that the ACLU intentionally misled it in court proceedings to obtain the abortion before they could appeal.

All nine justices vacated that ruling. They did not rule on whether girls detained at the border have constitutional rights or if the girl’s attorneys acted deceptively.

The high court warned that “zealous advocacy does not displace [the attorneys’] obligations as officers of the court,” but admitted, “lawyers have ethical obligations to their clients, and not all communications breakdowns constitute misconduct.”

Weber called the actions sneaky, and said the warning might make the ACLU more careful in future cases.

Pro-lifers anticipate the battle will return when abortion advocates find another immigrant who wants abortion.

In the meantime, Kerri Kupec, spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said her department looks forward to getting back to business: “The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the federal government is not required to facilitate abortions for minors and may choose policies favoring life over abortion. We look forward to continuing to press the government’s interest in the sanctity of life.”

YouTube YouTube A scene from a LiveAction video about Planned Parenthood

New Planned Parenthood videos spark concern

In response to pro-life group Live Action’s video series on alleged sexual abuse cover-ups at Planned Parenthood, 56 Republican members of Congress sent a letter urging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate.

The lawmakers point to a recently proposed HHS rule to “address explicitly the requirements for Title X projects to comply with all state and local laws regarding the notification or reporting of crimes involving sexual exploitation, child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking.”

The letter described a few of the cases in the video and said the stories “demonstrate that Planned Parenthood has continuously embraced a culture of turning a blind eye to suspected abuse.”

The reports included stories of fathers taking their teenage daughters to Planned Parenthood for multiple abortions to kill the babies they had conceived through abuse.

The lawmakers asked HHS to provide more information on Planned Parenthood’s failure to report suspected sexual abuse of minors who come to their centers. They also asked for records of Planned Parenthood’s work to comply with abuse-reporting law, the number of children who received abortion before they reached the age of consent, and the number of reports of sexual abuse Planned Parenthood made to law enforcement. —S.G.

Embryo custody battle

Never-married parents Gloria Karungi and Ronaldlee Ejalu disagree over the fate of their 10 frozen embryos: Karungi wants to have another child in hopes of harvesting stem cells from the umbilical cord to help the couple’s 6-year-old daughter with sickle cell anemia. Ejalu does not.

Oakland, Mich., County Circuit Judge Lisa Langton said she was still deciding whether she had jurisdiction over the case. This Wednesday, she will hold a hearing on whether to appoint attorney David Kallman guardian over the embryos.

“These fertilized embryos are human beings—that’s our position, and we have science that backs that up,” Kallman told the Detroit Free-Press. S.G.

Support for euthanasia

A recent Gallup poll shows that 72 percent of Americans think assisted suicide should be legal. Mostly likely to support the legalization of assisted suicide are young men, as well as nonchurchgoers and Democrats. Of the 1,024 adults surveyed in May, only 54 percent of Americans think the practice is morally acceptable, compared to 42 percent who believe it is wrong. Among those who attend church weekly, 60 percent say assisted suicide should not be legal. Gallup said the latest numbers were in line with its 2014 findings. —S.G.

More than waste

A Maryland abortion center belonging to infamous abortionist LeRoy Carhart may be looking for a new company to dispose of babies’ remains after Biomedical Waste Services allegedly canceled its services. Soon after publishing an article urging readers to call medical waste disposal companies and tell them to cancel contracts with abortion providers, pro-life group Operation Rescue said the manager of the company servicing Carhart’s center announced it was discontinuing business with the center. —S.G.

Making a point

In a clean, humorous new video, pro-life group Choice42 (advocating choice for two) pokes fun at abortion advocates’ claim that human rights begin at birth. It's worth watching, in my view.—S.G.

Samantha Gobba

Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.

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