The previous ruling had won praise from from pro-life leaders and bishops. In a statement, the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops said that "federal and Texas state officials are to be commended for defending the life of an innocent unborn child in a recent case involving an unaccompanied pregnant minor in federal immigration custody."
They also said a lower court's Oct. 18 ruling allowing the girl to get an abortion would "require the government to facilitate and participate in ending the innocent life of the unborn child."
"Indeed, this case, one of many brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has as its objective compelling others to perform, facilitate, or pay for abortion who do not wish to do so. This objective is unconscionable. No one -the government, private individuals or organizations - should be forced to be complicit in abortion," the bishops urged.
The case revolved around the question of whether the federal government would facilitate an abortion for a 17-year-old from Central America, known only as "Jane Doe." Since September, the minor has been in federal custody in a Texas shelter operated by the Office of Refugee Resettlement – an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Under Texas law, minors must have either parental consent or a state permission to obtain an abortion. Doe received state permission Sept. 25, 2017. However, the Department of Health and Human Services had objected to transporting the minor to abortion appointments.
The government argued that since she is a minor in their custody, it has the right to determine what is in the best interest of the teen, and also stated that it has an interest in not creating incentives for minors to cross international borders in order to obtain abortions.