WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine joined a coalition of 14 Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief in support of Jane Doe, a 17-year-old unaccompanied minor immigrant currently in federal custody, who is seeking an abortion. The attorneys general argue that the federal government’s efforts to block her abortion violate both states’ rights and the constitutional rights of women. The ACLU is representing the 17-year-old in Garza v. Hargan.
The amicus brief, filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, argues that the plaintiff’s petition for rehearing en banc should be granted, the panel’s order vacated, and the federal government’s emergency motion for a stay of the district court’s temporary restraining order denied. The brief was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and joined by the attorneys general of the District, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.
“Amici are committed to advancing their interest in the safety of all women seeking abortion services without creating unwarranted obstacles to women’s access to those services… Amici also have an interest in ensuring that courts afford the proper degree of deference to their legislative and judicial judgments regarding the best interests of minor children. It is well established that questions of family law, including determinations about the health and safety of minors, are within the province of state law,” the brief states.
“First, the United States cannot impose a federal agency-consent requirement that does not exist under state law without infringing upon the sovereignty of those States that have decided to trust the independent judgment of minors who wish to exercise their constitutional right to obtain an abortion… Second, the government’s policy of withholding its consent to all requests for abortions, except in instances of sexual abuse and medical necessity, constitutes an undue burden on the constitutional rights of unaccompanied immigrant minors, including the movant.”