A federal judge on Monday ordered the Trump administration to stop blocking two immigrants in the U.S. without legal permission from obtaining abortions.
The judge granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) request for temporary restraining orders that would stop officials from preventing the women from having the procedures, but put the ruling on a 24-hour hold to allow the government time to file for a stay in appeals court.
The ACLU had sought to protect the two young women's ability to get abortions after immigrations officials initially blocked another immigrant here without legal permission from having the procedure earlier this year.
The immigrant in that case, known only as Jane Doe, did eventually obtain an abortion.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement, the federal agency that oversees refugees and undocumented immigrants, had blocked the immigrants from having the procedures.
The administration had argued that the two women could leave the country or “find a suitable sponsor” in order to obtain an abortion.
“The minors in this case—who entered the country illegally—have the option to voluntarily depart to their home country or find a suitable sponsor. If they choose not to exercise these options, HHS does not believe we are required to facilitate the abortion," the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement about the case last week.
The ACLU celebrated the ruling and vowed to continue fighting to allow other undocumented immigrants to have abortions.
“The judge’s decision is a reminder that both the law and justice are on our side. We’ve already seen the courts rule in favor of Jane Doe, and today justice prevailed for two more young women like her,” Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, the Trump administration has shown no indication that they’ll abandon their cruel and dystopian crusade to block abortion access for some of the most marginalized people in our country. We’re prepared to keep fighting for as long as we need to.”
The Trump administration condemned the ruling Monday.
“We are deeply disappointed in the decision to grant a temporary restraining order that will compel HHS to facilitate abortions for minors when they are not medically necessary," the department said in a statement.
"A pregnant minor who has entered the country illegally has the option to voluntarily depart to her home country or identify a suitable sponsor. HHS-funded facilities that provide temporary shelter and care for unaccompanied alien minors should not become way stations for these children to get taxpayer-facilitated abortions.”