Jane Doe, a 17-year-old from Central America who is being held in a private detention facility, was 16 weeks pregnant. The government had rejected her request to be released from the detention center to obtain an abortion, even though no government assistance or funds would be required for her procedure or transportation. In a strongly worded ruling, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 6-3 yesterday that Jane be allowed to obtain an abortion without delay, and the teenager had the abortion this morning.
But this does not necessarily mean that justice has been served. The government still has the option to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, if it wants to establish a precedent that undocumented women do not have a right to choose. It would not be the first time that a landmark abortion case has continued for longer than the length of the pregnancy in question: Norma McCorvey, the anonymous plaintiff known as Jane Roe in the Roe v. Wade case, had already given birth and put the infant up for adoption by the time the Supreme Court granted her the right to an abortion in 1973.
But this news does mean that one young girl’s tragic ordeal has come to an end. Through her lawyers, Jane Doe issued a statement. “No one should be shamed for making the right decision for themselves,” she wrote. “I would not tell any other girl in my situation what they should do. That decision is hers and hers alone.”