Federal officials under the Obama administration went out of their way to help pregnant unaccompanied immigrant minors get abortions, even transporting the girls across state lines, a court document and emails revealed recently.
A ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Laurel Beeler disclosed an instance in which “Maria,” a teen in federal custody who became pregnant as a result of rape, requested an abortion. She was in a state that required parental consent, and the location of her parents was known, but she did not want authorities to notify them that she was pregnant. Emails cited in the ruling showed that Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) field specialists discussed sending her to New Mexico.
“This is why termination of pregnancies are done in New Mexico due to the fact that currently (by law) there is no parental consent requirement,” one ORR staff member wrote.
Beeler’s ruling decided the separate matter of whether the federal government violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by contracting with the Catholic Bishops Conference to shelter so-called unaccompanied alien children (UAC). The judge wrote that the Bishops Conference had never imposed its religion on girls or prevented them from obtaining abortions since it was willing to transfer them to a pro-abortion facility.
Additional emails filed in court and reviewed by The Federalist revealed that workers transported pregnant girls across state lines not only to skirt parental consent laws but also to avoid laws limiting abortions based on the gestational ages of the unborn babies.
In one case, a federal field specialist requested the transfer of a pregnant girl to New York or Virginia because she was 17 to 18 weeks along, and Texas has a 20-week abortion ban. The specialist wrote, “Going forward with an abortion in Texas does not seem feasible due to the advanced pregnant state of the UAC.”
Another email showed an official saying a shelter in Chicago “has a ‘history’ of working well with Planned Parenthood in Illinois and of supporting our teens through this difficult process.”
Travis Weber, an attorney with the Family Research Council, told me the court documents showed federal officials “were in lock-step with the ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] on abortion.” He added, “These are government representatives. They are employees, the people charged with doing the will of the American people as reflected in the administration, and here you have these government employees who are striving to obtain abortions” in an aggressive manner.
The Trump administration adopted a policy that did not require shelters to provide abortions to unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors or even transfer them to a facility that would. The ACLU filed suit last year against the policy on behalf of anonymous teens under the pseudonyms Janes Doe, Roe, Moe, and Poe.
During court proceedings, ACLU lawyers took Jane Doe to get her abortion early in the morning after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the girl’s favor. But the government had planned to appeal, and lawyers for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) called actions by the ACLU lawyers deliberately deceptive. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated the appellate court’s ruling and reprimanded the ACLU lawyers for their actions.
“Government officials, the ACLU, they both are linked by this mentality of you must get abortions at all cost,” Weber said. “It’s just ridiculous when you look at the backdrop of the law. The Supreme Court has pronounced multiple times allowing the government to have pro-life policies, which the Trump administration has relied on to set the policy it has now at HHS.”
It’s not clear that officials technically broke state laws by bypassing them. What is clear is the fervency of abortion advocates in promoting access to abortion above all else, including parental consent.