Supreme Court Ruling Lets Stand Trump/Pence Policy Denying Detained Immigrant Teens the Right to an Abortion

June 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper |


On June 4, the Supreme Court ruled, in effect, that women are incubators, not full human beings. It said YES to the Trump/Pence Regime’s request to reverse a lower court’s decision to let an undocumented teenager get an abortion.

The 17-year-old, known as Jane Doe, was in an ICE detention camp last year when she found out she was pregnant and adamantly wanted an abortion. Fetuses are not babies, and there was no reason to stop her from getting an abortion. But the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) cited its policy of not “facilitating” abortions for minors in immigration detention, and refused to release and transport Doe to get an abortion. The ORR is headed by Trump-appointed Scott Lloyd, a fanatical Christian fascist, who says he believes immigrant teens in custody have no constitutional right to abortion.

This ominous decision by the Supreme Court will have concrete implications for a whole group of refugee and immigrant women. In 2017, there were at least 420 pregnant unaccompanied minors in custody, including 18 who requested abortions.

The ACLU sued the Trump administration in federal court, challenging the government’s policy, and Judge Tanya Chutkan issued a temporary restraining order last October to allow Doe to get an abortion. Chutkan also approved the ACLU’s litigation as a class action suit – which meant her ruling would apply to every undocumented minor in federal custody seeking an abortion. Before the Trump/Pence Regime could file an appeal, Doe got an abortion.

The Supreme Court has now vacated Chutkan’s decision, saying the issue is moot (irrelevant) because Doe got an abortion. Some say this ruling on such a narrow technicality won’t have real impact. But the fact is, the high court did not uphold Chutkan’s decision to let Doe get an abortion. That is what the Trump/Pence Regime wanted, and the ORR’s anti-abortion policy remains in effect.

Even more importantly, this ruling feeds into overall effort to ban abortion. It is part of decades-long (successful) efforts to force abortion clinics to close down in the face of harsh and unreasonable restrictions and a barrage of anti-abortion state laws. All this is being propelled with even more strength under the Trump/Pence Regime, which has appointed antiabortion officials to top positions at the Justice Department, Health and Human Services, and other offices.

The ACLU lawsuit is going forward, but the Trump/Pence Regime is fighting this and could use the Supreme Court decision to argue the suit should have never been approved. The case could end up before the Supreme Court, which has an anti-abortion majority. A Supreme Court ruling against the lawsuit would set an even more dangerous precedent, affecting the lives of all women and girls.

These efforts to outlaw abortion underscore the fact that the subjugation of women has been and continues to be an integral part of the system of capitalism-imperialism. And now, this system has brought forth a fascist regime that includes, as a key component, representatives of a powerful Christian fascist movement that has been working for decades to achieve their vision of re-cohering society under draconian religious fundamentalist norms and morality, including hammering down, even more forcefully, the oppression of women.




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