The Supreme Court has sided with the Trump administration in the case of a pregnant immigrant teenager who was able to get an abortion after filing a lawsuit.
In a unanimous decision issued Monday, the high court vacated a lower court decision, which was initially in favor of the teen. The decision is about the teen's individual case, however, and doesn't appear to disrupt ongoing litigation about the ability of immigrant teens in government custody to obtain abortions.
The teenager at the center of this case illegally entered the U.S. in September as a 17-year-old and was taken to a federally funded shelter in Texas for minors who enter the country without their parents.
The teen, referred to as Jane Doe, learned while in custody that she was pregnant and sought an abortion. A state court gave her permission, but federal officials, citing a policy of refusing to facilitate abortions for pregnant minors in its shelters, refused to transport her or temporarily release her so that others could take her for the procedure.
The American Civil Liberties Union helped Doe sue the Trump administration and get a court order in her favor. But before the administration could try to block the procedure, she got the abortion.
The government’s lawyers argued that the ACLU lawyers did not alert them that the teen’s abortion would take place earlier than initially scheduled.
The Supreme Court rejected the suggestion by the Trump administration that lawyers for the ACLU might deserve to be sanctioned, ruling only to scrap the lower court decision since the case became moot after the procedure.
“Doe’s individual claim for injunctive relief—the only claim addressed by the D.C. Circuit—became moot after the abortion,” the Supreme Court opinion said. “It is undisputed that [her guardian] and her lawyers prevailed in the D.C. Circuit, took voluntary, unilateral action to have Doe undergo an abortion sooner than initially expected, and thus retained the benefit of that favorable judgment.”
The lawsuit could return to the Supreme Court at a later date.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.