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New ORR memo highlights extreme ideology and overreach

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, a newly unsealed memo written by Scott Lloyd, Director of HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) highlights the extreme ideology and overreach behind ORR’s policy of blocking young immigrant woman from accessing safe, legal abortion care.

In the memo justifying his decision to deny a rape victim, who is also a minor, access to abortion, Lloyd writes, “Even supposing it was possible to justify abortion in this context, abortion does not here cure the reality that she is the victim of an assault. It also carries with it significant risk of further complicating the matter. It is possible, and perhaps likely, that this young woman would go on to experience an abortion as an additional trauma on top of the trauma she experiences as a result of her sexual assault…. Here there is no medical reason for abortion, it will not undo or erase the memory of the violence committed against her, and it may further traumatize her. I conclude it is not her interest.”

In response, Planned Parenthood released this statement:

Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

This memo makes clear that Scott Lloyd should immediately be removed from his position as director of ORR. He is unfit to serve in government. Lloyd is imposing his personal beliefs on the young women in his agency’s care - to control their bodies and violate their constitutional rights. His overreach and abuse of power puts these young women’s lives in danger.  

“Scott Lloyd may think that, as undocumented immigrants, these women are not entitled to basic rights or control over their own bodies. But that’s not what the law says. These women deserve support and justice from our government.

“Further, the administration should take steps to reverse this unconstitutional policy. Every woman should have control over their own bodies, health and lives, including access to abortion, regardless of her immigration status. Rather than respect this fundamental principle, the Trump administration continues to pursue an ideological and unconstitutional policy.


 

Earlier this week, a federal district court ruled that HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) could not block two young women from accessing safe, legal abortion — another in an increasingly long line of court decisions against President Trump’s ORR.

As the questioning of the federal district court made clear, ORR Director Scott Lloyd is trying to impose his will on these women in violation of these young women’s constitutional rights. Politico reports that DC district court “(Judge) Chutkan sounded puzzled by the development, noting that in the state where the young woman is located, no parental or judicial permission is needed for a 17-year-old to receive an abortion. ‘How does that overcome her constitutional right?...How does ORR have more right over her than her parent?’ the judge asked.”

In October, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration must stop blocking Jane Doe, another young immigrant woman in detention, from accessing an abortion. The October case followed a March 2017 incident in which the ORR interfered with the administration of medication abortion to another unaccompanied minor at a federal shelter in Texas. Scott Lloyd has personally contacted one or more other unaccompanied immigrant minors who were pregnant and seeking abortion with the intent of talking them out of their decision.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.