Who is Tanya S. Chutkan, the judge who said the Trump administration must allow undocumented immigrants access to abortions?
On December 18th, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan ordered the Trump administration to allow two 17-year-old undocumented immigrants, known as Jane Roe and Jane Poe, to receive abortions. One of the pregnant girls was reportedly allowed to have her abortion today, December 19th. The other girl’s procedure is currently being stalled by the Supreme Court.
Judge Tanya Chutkan is originally from Kingston, Jamaica. She received her B.A. in Economics from George Washington University and her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. While at the University of Pennsylvania, she was the Associate Editor of the Law Review and a Legal Writing Fellow.
Chutkan worked at her own private law practice for three years. She then worked for eleven years as a trial attorney and supervisor for the District of Columbia Public Defender Service. Chutkan later specialized in litigation and white-collar criminal defense at Boies, Schiller, & Flexner LLP.
Under the Obama administration in June of 2014, Chutkan was appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
This is the second time Judge Chutkan has ordered the Trump administration to grant an undocumented teen an abortion. In October, another 17-year-old girl in federal custody, identified only as Jane Doe, received government backlash upon requesting an abortion.
A new Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement policy states that federally-funded shelters cannot facilitate abortion-related actions for unaccompanied minors without the approval of the office’s director. A hearing was called on the matter of Jane Doe in October. Chutkan argued that regardless of Jane Doe’s immigrant status, her constitutional rights should be respected. At that time, the teen had already received permission to have an abortion from a state judge in Texas.
The D.C. Court of Appeals ultimately granted Jane Doe permission to receive the abortion.
Time is ticking for the teen who has yet to be granted her abortion. We hope that the ACLU and Chutkan will keep fighting until the administration recognizes the girl’s constitutional rights.