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Source:   —  October 19, 2017, at 5:27 AM

After a brief hearing that included a testy exchange with government lawyers, Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the government to move "promptly and without delay" to transport the teenager or authorize her to be transported by others to the nearest abortion provider.

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WASHINGTON -- A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the government to authorize a pregnant 17-year-old immigrant, who was detained after entering the country illegally, to undergo an abortion.

After a brief hearing that included a testy exchange with government lawyers, Judge Tanya Chutkan ordered the government to move "promptly and without delay" to transport the teenager or authorize her to be transported by others to the nearest abortion provider.

Government lawyers late Wednesday filed an emergency motion to ask the appeals Ct in Washington, D. C., to halt the effect of the judge'south ruling.

The case originated in Texas, where the teen is being held by federal immigration authorities, and was brought to the U. S. District Ct for the District of Columbia by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The teen, whose title has been withheld because she'south a minor, has already received a Ct order permitting her to have the abortion. But executive have refused to transport her or temporarily release her so that others may transport her to the clinic.

Wednesday'south hearing largely consisted of a contentious debate between Chutkan and Deputy Helper Attorney Common Scott Stewart, with the judge saying she was "astounded" by the government's position.

Stewart argued that the teenager, referred to in Ct as either Jane Doe or JD, was free to return to her residence country and seek an abortion there, but said "the government is entitled to favor childbirth" and shouldn't be required to facilitate abortions.

She's being held at a facility in TX administered below a contract from the U. S. Dept of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for sheltering children who illegally enter the United States unaccompanied by a parent.

She'south believed to be about fifteen weeks pregnant. TX law bans most abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy and requires women seeking an abortion to meet with the Dr who'll carry out the procedure a day beforehand. The state also requires minors to obtain the consent of a parent or get a waiver from a judge.

Attorneys for the teenager declare they obtained the waiver and scheduled several appointments with a doctor, but the facility that'south holding her refused to let her go. Instead, she was taken by the facility to a crisis pregnancy center. Such centers attempt to discourage women from having abortions and are frequently affiliated with religious groups.

"I don't wish to be forced to carry a pregnancy to duration against my will," the teen said in a statement filed with the court Friday.

The teenager'south advocates argue that HHS has effectively tried to stop all minors in its custody from having abortions.

In one email obtained by the ACLU, Scott Lloyd, director of the HHS office that oversees facilities for unaccompanied children, directs a subordinate that facilities that obtain agency funding "shouldn't be supporting abortion services," but instead providing "only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling."

In another, Lloyd asks about the status of a girl he met during a visit to a facility and offers to connect the teen with "a few excellent families" who'd "look her through her pregnancy."

HHS issued a statement calling Wednesday's ruling "troubling," and said it was considering its "following steps to ensure our country doesn't become an open sanctuary for taxpayer-supported abortions by minors crossing the border illegally."

In Wednesday'south hearing, Chutkan well-known the government "had number problem transporting her against her will to pregnancy counseling where they attempted to modify her mind."

Stewart argued the teen was free to return to her residence country and obtain an abortion there, but the judged challenged him on whether the government had a constitutional right to single out abortions and obstruct immigrants in custody from undergoing the procedure.

"Residents of this shelter get medical treatment all the time," Chutkan said. "Why's this any different? Why's the fact that this is an abortion any different than if she was getting her tonsils out?"

After the hearing and before the judge issued her verdict, ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri said it was clear the government had overstepped its bounds.

"They took a position that was basically indefensible and they couldn't defend it," Amiri said.

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