Here’s your feel-good story for the day, if you happen to work for the ACLU and believe that even illegal immigrants have a constitutional right to an abortion.

The Washington Post reports that U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ordered that the 17-year-old, who crossed illegally into the United States from Mexico last month, be transported “promptly and without delay” to have the procedure.

Chutkan said the government, which has the girl in federal custody, seemed to have presented the teen with two options: return to Mexico voluntarily and have the abortion there, or carry the child to term.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Stewart said in court filings that the government had a strong interest “in not providing incentives for pregnant minors to illegally cross the border to obtain elective abortions while in federal custody.” Stewart noted that the girl had chosen to remain in federal custody than to return home and that her pregnancy was not a medical emergency.

Chutkan countered that the teenager does not need a medical emergency to exercise her right to an abortion. She said the girl had followed state and federal rules: She obtained permission from a state judge in Texas to have an abortion and would cover the expenses herself or with help through her court-appointed guardian.

All the government had to do, the judge said, is process the paperwork to let the girl visit the clinic, just as they would if she needed to have her tonsils removed.

Chutkan said the teen’s legal status was “irrelevant” and that “she still has constitutional rights” despite being in the country illegally.


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