Supreme Court wipes away lower court abortion ruling

A unanimous Supreme Court on Monday declined to set a precedent for whether or not an undocumented teen in US custody can get an abortion.

The court granted a request from the Trump administration to wipe away a lower court opinion that allowed an undocumented teen in Texas to get an abortion last year. Although the teen — known as “Jane Doe” in court papers — has obtained the procedure, the administration wanted the opinion vacated so as not to create a precedent for other similar cases that could come up.

A Justice Department statement said that the agency was pleased with the court’s decision.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear that the federal government is not required to facilitate abortions for minors and may choose policies favoring life over abortion,” the statement said. “We look forward to continuing to press the government’s interest in the sanctity of life.”

In a five-page per curiam opinion, the justices explained that the issue is now moot.

The court’s order will have little impact since the administration filed the emergency application in November, a lower court has already issued a temporary injunction against the government in the case. That litigation will now continue.

The dispute arose weeks ago when the ACLU challenged the Trump administration’s new policy that prohibits federally funded shelters from taking any action to facilitate abortion access for unaccompanied minors. As a part of that challenge, the ACLU filed an emergency petition in federal court to clear the way for Doe to have the procedure.

A federal district court ruled in favor of the teen.

This story has been updated.