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D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

Government says teen’s lawyers misled them in abortion case

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday accused lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of misleading the administration in the case of a pregnant immigrant teen who sought and obtained an abortion following a lawsuit.

Justice Department lawyers said the teen’s abortion was moved up without their knowledge and before they could ask the Supreme Court to review the case. The department said in a statement Friday that “discipline” may be appropriate against the teen’s attorneys. The administration is now asking the Supreme Court to vacate a lower court ruling in the teen’s favor.

The 17-year-old had an abortion Oct. 25 after the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in her favor. The Justice Department says its attorneys were told that the procedure would occur Oct. 26.

The teen was in government custody after illegally entering the U.S. in September. She was taken to a government facility for unaccompanied minors in South Texas where she learned she was pregnant. She obtained a state court order on Sept. 25 permitting an abortion. But federal officials refused to transport her or temporarily release her so that others could take her for the procedure.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees facilities for unaccompanied minors who enter the United States illegally, argued it had established a policy of “refusing to facilitate” abortions for people in its care. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the government on the teen’s behalf.

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