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The Trump administration cannot block pregnant, undocumented immigrant teenagers in U.S. custody from obtaining access to abortions until a lawsuit on their behalf is decided, according to a U.S. District Court judge in Washington D.C.
Judge Tanya Chutkan granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request to have the lawsuit considered a “class action,” so the ruling that was filed on Friday will apply to every pregnant, undocumented minor seeking an abortion while in U.S. custody, rather than on a case-by-case basis.
The ACLU—which has represented four pregnant women against the Trump administration since October—called the ruling a huge relief.
“Obviously we are relieved,” Brigitte Amiri, the lead lawyer on the case, told BuzzFeed News on Friday. “This is a huge relief for the young women in … custody who would otherwise be subjected to the Trump administration’s attempt to force them to bring to [the] pregnancy to term.”
BREAKING: A federal court has ruled the Trump administration must stop blocking young immigrant women in their custody from obtaining abortions while we are litigating our ongoing case challenging the administration’s policy. #JusticeForJane— ACLU (@ACLU) March 31, 2018
Today’s ruling puts us one step closer to ending this extreme policy of blocking countless young women from their right to abortion care, once and for all. #JusticeForJane— ACLU (@ACLU) March 31, 2018
Chutkan also granted the ACLU’s request to bar the federal government from interfering with aspects of the affected minors’ health care, including access to a judicial bypass if needed, medical appointments related to pregnancy, non-directive options counseling, abortion counseling, an abortion, or other pregnancy-related care.
Folks on Twitter—including Amiri and her colleagues— used the #JusticeforJane hashtag to celebrate the ACLU’s win.
Fantastic news! Tonight I'm thinking about the Janes who trusted us to tell their stories, and bravely agreed to fight ORR's unconstitutional policy for the others who would come after them. #JusticeForJane https://t.co/9lCk7GllvJ— Lindsey Kaley (@lindseybreton) March 31, 2018
Thanks to EVERYONE who has been working around the clock to get #JusticeforJane. Tonight the district court granted preliminary injunction blocking the Trump admin's cruel policy. Victory & relief!! https://t.co/EbTfx7kcjk— Brigitte Amiri (@brigitte_amiri) March 31, 2018
Dear ACLU,— objkshn (@objkshn) March 31, 2018
Sincerely, as a member and a citizen and a woman and a sane human being.#JusticeForJane
“With today’s rulings, we are one step closer to ending this extreme policy once and for all and securing justice for all of these young women.” -@Brigitte_Amiri of @ACLU #JusticeforJane https://t.co/ZmUdn9CE2r— Hilarie (@Meyers1122) March 31, 2018
Here's the substance of the Judge's order and all the things the federal government must stop doing w/r/t coercing young people's reproductive health care decisions & blocking abortion access #JusticeforJane pic.twitter.com/EssM0MqA7W— Melissa Goodman (@mg718) March 31, 2018
Chutkan’s decision took effect immediately, so the Trump administration next would have to appeal the judge’s order, bringing the case to the appeals court for a decision, if it plans to continue fighting the ACLU.
Tess Cagle is a reporter who focuses on politics, lifestyle, and streaming entertainment. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin American-Statesman, Damn Joan, and Community Impact Newspaper. She’s also a portrait, events, and live music photographer in Central Texas.