AAUW Signs on to Amicus Brief in Immigrant Abortion Access Case

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On October 13, 2017, the ACLU filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court to fight on behalf of Jane Doe, who was being prevented from accessing abortion care. On October 18, 2017, the district court granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the government from interfering with Jane Doe’s access to her abortion provider, but the government sought an emergency stay of that order from the D.C. Circuit.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit set aside key parts of the temporary restraining order and sent the case back to the district court to see if Jane Doe could find a sponsor to whom ORR could transfer custody before the end of October. Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominee for the U. S. Supreme Court, was seated on this three-judge panel and ruled to delay the abortion, holding this did not unduly burden her right to an abortion. Four days later, the full D.C. Circuit panel of judges reheard the case and ruled that the young woman was entitled to exercise her right to choose without delay. Judge Kavanaugh dissented from that second decision, adopting troubling language in his opinion and signaling his lack of support for this constitutional right.   

Choice in the determination of one’s reproductive life and increased access to health care and family planning services are core tenants of AAUW policy. AAUW signed onto this brief because we support the civil and human rights of all immigrants. We also support international family planning programs that are consistent with AAUW policy.

The procedural history of this case has been long and protracted, with various challenges from the government. The government’s appeal of the district court’s preliminary injunction and class certification are scheduled for oral argument on September 26.