The Justice Department Is Alleging The ACLU 'Misled The United States' In Undocumented Jane Doe Abortion Case

The Department of Justice has officially submitted a petition that claims "Jane Doe’s" lawyers lied about the time of the undocumented minor’s abortion procedure.

If you’ve been chronically napping through Jane Doe’s case, we’ll catch you up. Jane Doe is a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant, who has been placed in a government-funded shelter since September. However, she was pregnant when she was placed in the shelter and wanted to get a safe abortion (because it’s her body after all).

Because she’s unaccompanied minor, she couldn’t just choose to get an abortion in the state of Texas (because minors need the consent of an adult or representative), which is why these legal battles were necessary in the first place.


Although we thought this teen’s abortion case was over with (seeing as the Federal Appeals Court ruled in her favor and she was able to safely terminate her pregnancy), clearly it isn’t over yet.

The Huffington Post explains that the Trump administration requested the Supreme Court investigate the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyer who represented the teen.

A spokesperson from the Justice Department, Devin M. O’Malley, told The New York Times, “The A.C.L.U. misled the United States as to the timing of Jane Doe’s abortion. After informing Justice Department attorneys that the procedure would occur on October 26th, Jane Doe’s attorneys scheduled the abortion for the early morning hours of October 25th, thereby thwarting Supreme Court review. In light of that, the Justice Department believes the judgment under review should be vacated, and discipline may be warranted against Jane Doe’s attorneys.” Well, those are some hefty claims.

The Federal Appeals Court hearing ended on Oct. 24, so why does it matter if the ACLU allegedly documented the wrong date of the abortion?

The New York Times explains that in Texas women need to attend a counseling session at least 24 hours prior to their scheduled abortion. If the teen’s hearing concluded on Oct. 24 and she got the abortion the next day, she wouldn’t have been able to attend a required counseling session 24 hours before the actual medical procedure. Unless of course she sprinted from the hearing to the nearest viable clinic, which records show she didn’t.

Nevertheless, The New York Times reports that the teen did attend a counseling session on Oct. 19, which would appease the Texas state law. Thus, this alleged misinformation doesn’t break any state laws.


CBS News reports that David Cole, the ACLU Legal Director combated these accusations during a press briefing. “The Trump administration blocked Jane Doe from getting constitutionally protected care for a month and subjected her to illegal obstruction, coercion, and shaming as she waited. After the courts cleared the way for her to get her abortion, it was the ACLU's job as her lawyers to see that she wasn't delayed any further — not to give the government another chance to stand in her way,” Cole said.

During the brief, Cole also stated that his legal team was keeping their client’s “best interest” in mind. The fact “that government lawyers failed to seek judicial review quickly enough is their fault, not ours,” Cole concluded the brief.

The Huffington Post also reports that the Justice Department’s documents show that Trump’s administration planned to solicit legal intervention before the teen got her abortion on Oct. 25. Thankfully they weren’t successful with this request, otherwise Jane Doe may not have been able to get the abortion that she wanted (and has every right to).

However, this might explain why the ACLU rescheduled the teen’s abortion to an early time, seeing as the administration was already planning to halt Doe’s abortion yet again.

While the ACLU did expedite the teen’s abortion by several hours (moving the abortion to Oct. 25 at 7:30pm instead of early in the morning on Oct. 26, the Justice Department claims), does the Trump administration still have grounds to investigate the ACLU?

Yes. While the legal team didn’t break any Texas state laws by changing the date of the abortion, the Trump administration could still pursue the ACLU lawyers for providing misleading information in the final court documents.

While this is all heresy, we’re just glad that this latest legal battle regarding Jane Doe’s abortion case doesn’t actually involve her.