Texas must not be a 'sanctuary state for abortions,' AG Ken Paxton says in court brief

AUSTIN — The federal government should not give unauthorized immigrant minors the right to have abortions, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union wants to add "Jane Doe," a 17-year-old unauthorized immigrant who sued in Texas to have an abortion, to an existing federal case against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Paxton filed a brief in the case in response, arguing that unauthorized minors do not have the right to have abortions.

The ACLU argues that restricting reproductive and abortion care is unconstitutional, but Paxton said the case could establish Texas as a "sanctuary state for abortions."

"No federal court has ever declared that unlawfully-present aliens with no substantial ties to this country have a constitutional right to abortion on demand," he said in a news release. "If 'Doe' prevails in this case, the ruling will create a right to abortion for anyone on earth who enters the U.S. illegally. And with that right, countless others undoubtedly would follow. Texas must not become a sanctuary state for abortions."

The ACLU originally sued the federal health department in 2016, accusing it of failing to provide complete medical care to unaccompanied immigrant minors. The department gives grants to organizations to take care of the minors, but some deny abortion care based on their religious beliefs, including for minors who become pregnant from rape.