Scott Lloyd, the man Trump chose to head the Office of Refugee Resettlement, is an anti-choice activist who is using his position to deny safe abortion care to young immigrant women.
The debate centers around a pregnant 17-year-old girl, only identified as Jane Doe, who was caught trying to cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico. She asked to have an abortion, and a non-profit legal group raised the funds, but Trump’s administration had other plans, according to the New York Times.
Repaying his loyal supporters on the religious right, Donald Trump has given federal appointments to a number of anti-abortion activists. They’ve been working quietly to dismantle access to reproductive health care while the country is distracted by the president’s pyrotechnic outrages. For almost a month, some of these Trump appointees have been waging a crusade to force the young woman, whose future in this country is extremely uncertain, to carry her pregnancy to term.
Lloyd had little-to-no experience with refugees, but he was given the top spot to curry favor with religious fundamentalists who oppose women’s right to healthcare. As part of the deal, he gained “authority over uniquely vulnerable pregnant girls.”
Experts estimate that around 60 percent of female migrants have been raped… Under Lloyd, O.R.R. has banned shelters from helping any of these girls get abortions, instead mandating that they receive “life-affirming options counseling.”
The ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of Doe, and they have been battling it out in court, but on Friday, a divided appeals court delayed final resolution of the case. The judges gave the Trump administration until Oct. 31 to find a private sponsor who will house her and allow her to get the medical abortion she was been requesting since the beginning. The Los Angeles Times explains:
The 2-1 ruling, written by Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush, said that if the government failed to find a sponsor by Oct. 31, the young woman could return to a district court that earlier this week ordered the government to allow her to get an abortion by this weekend.
The ACLU called the ruling to delay the procedure for Doe, who is now 15 weeks pregnant, “a dangerous decision.” The group encouraged members to “put pressure” on Lloyd to “stop systemically denying young immigrant women their rights to safe abortion care.”
The administration went as far as to claim that “there is no constitutional right” for an immigrant minor to get an abortion while in federal custody.
Forcing young women to undergo pregnancies against their will? This is not only clearly unconstitutional — it’s unconscionable.
The group also noted that Doe is not alone in this fight. In fact, they said, the Trump administration’s policy applies to all unaccompanied immigrant youth in its custody.
The administration must stop forcing its ideological agenda, driven by personal religious views, on young people in its charge.
Tell Scott Lloyd and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to stop breaking the law and stop denying young immigrant women their constitutional right to safe abortion care.
The ACLU is right. This is a clear case of a government employee using his position to fight a personal, ideological battle against women’s rights. Of course we can’t count on the Trump administration to do anything about it, considering its incredibly close ties with the Religious Right, but we can make enough noise to (hopefully) make it politically inconvenient to continue blocking young immigrant women from safe and legal abortions.
Aside from that, it seems all we can do is hope that our court system does its job and puts a stop to this unlawful use of authority over young pregnant immigrant girls.
(Screenshot via C-SPAN)