Court says Trump can’t block undocumented teens from obtaining abortions

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.”

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.

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

Tess Cagle

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.