In a statement to Vox, the Administration for Children and Families, of which the ORR is part, called Judge Chutkan's order "a troubling ruling that exceeds the U.S. Constitution and sets a risky precedent by opening our borders to any illegal children seeking taxpayer-supported, elective abortions".
(The venue is appropriate since Doe's shelter was following rules promulgated by federal agencies located in the District.) U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a temporary restraining order compelling Doe's shelter to let her attend the required counseling session and obtain the procedure.
Chuktan had ordered officials on Wednesday to take the teen "promptly and without delay" to an abortion clinic. In March, according to court documents filed by the group, another minor at a shelter in Texas chose to have a medication abortion after getting a judge's permission for the procedure. She is now 15 weeks into her pregnancy.
The girl is still to be taken for a counseling session Thursday as required under Texas law, where she is now being held in a government-contracted shelter.
A spokeswoman for a pro-abortion organization said the 17-year-old, from Central America, was "counseled" on Thursday.
The court has scheduled oral argument on the appeal for Friday morning.
The DOJ lawyers repeatedly refused to acknowledge the constitutional right to an abortion in response to questions from Judge Tanya Chutkan. The judge also claimed: "Plaintiff ... will suffer irreparable injury in the form of, at a minimum, increased risk to her health, and perhaps the permanent inability to obtain a desired abortion to which she is legally entitled".
"Though the order overrides the policies and procedures of the Office of Refugee Resettlement created to protect children and their babies who have illegally crossed the border, we will continue to provide them with excellent health care and protect their well-being in all our facilities", the administration said. Judge Chutkan asked Stewart if he would agree that Doe still had constitutional rights.
In a brief filed in support of the federal officials, eight states - Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and SC - anxious that if the court allowed Jane Doe to have an abortion, "there will be no meaningful limit on the constitutional rights an unlawfully-present alien can invoke simply by trying to enter this country".
"We are disheartened the ruling rewards ideologically motivated lawsuits filed in multiple courts by the A.C.L.U. and abortion advocates", the statement said. And in a direct effort at stifling the opposition, she exhorted: "Failure to comply with the terms of this Order may result in a finding of contempt".
Government lawyers also argued that illegal minors from other countries have no right to abortion in the USA unless it's a medical emergency.