- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2017

The illegal immigrant teenager who was the subject of a major abortion fight last month is now seeking mental health treatment, the government said in new court documents Monday.

The Trump administration asked a judge to be freed from a gag order so the girl’s doctors, and any future sponsor who takes the girl from a government-run shelter, can be told of the abortion, saying it’s an important part of her history.

U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, an Obama appointee to the federal bench, had imposed severe restrictions on the government’s ability to communicate about the juvenile girl’s abortion, citing privacy laws. The Trump administration said it needs those rules relaxed in order to secure the best care for the 17-year-old girl, known in court documents as “J.D.”

“The Court’s restriction, as we understand it, prohibits HHS or the shelter from informing prospective mental health providers of J.D.’s abortion or sharing her medical records concerning that abortion,” said Jonathan White, deputy director for the government’s children’s programs, in the court document.

“This information would normally be shared with such health care providers; reporting recent medical and surgical procedures is a standard intake question for mental health treatment,” he said.

The government also argues the order restricts its ability to find J.D. an adequate sponsor who she could stay with in the U.S., and to ensure the sponsor would be able to properly care for J.D.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the girl, said the government shouldn’t be permitted to tell anyone about J.D.’s abortion without her consent.

“They have already violated her privacy and risked her safety by telling her mother about her pregnancy. The court’s order protects [J.D.] from further constitutional violations,” said Brigitte Amiri, an attorney with the ACLU.

The Trump administration had tried to block J.D. from obtaining an abortion in the first place, saying federal law prevented the government from being involved in an elective abortion. Judge Chutkan rejected that argument and cleared the path for the abortion, and the government staffed it — seemingly in conflict with federal laws restricting taxpayer funding for abortions.

The ACLU says J.D.’s case is one of a number of illegal immigrant girls in government custody who are seeking abortions.

The organization has asked the judge to create a nationwide policy guaranteeing illegal immigrants access to abortion.


• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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