Lloyd continues to unconstitutionally block young immigrant women from seeking health care
WASHINGTON D.C. - Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd is trying to block another undocumented immigrant woman, who is being referred to as Jane Moe, from receiving a safe, legal abortion. This is the fourth such case to receive national attention and follows a pattern of Lloyd and ORR leadership disregarding the rights of the young women in their care. There are hundreds of pregnant, undocumented immigrant women in ORR’s custody every year.
Scott Lloyd continues to personally and unconstitutionally use his government position to interfere with young immigrant women’s personal medical decisions, including at least one rape survivor. He has contacted the women directly, ordering that all decisions about accessing safe, legal abortion go through him personally, and directing that they be taken to anti-abortion centers that often coerce women and provide inaccurate information about abortion. Courts eventually had to intervene in three recent cases of women seeking access to abortion to ensure the women were able to exercise their rights, and now another is being forced to seek court assistance.
In late December, a newly unsealed memo written by Lloyd revealed the extreme ideology and overreach behind ORR’s policy of blocking a young immigrant woman who had been raped from accessing safe, legal abortion care. Further, after one of the women finally overcame ORR’s unlawful barriers and obtained her abortion, the Department of Justice argued that it should be allowed to notify her uncle, who had threatened to “beat” her if she terminated her pregnancy.
Statement from Dana Singiser, Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
This is not the first time that Scott Lloyd and the ORR have blocked young immigrant women from accessing safe, legal abortion. If Lloyd remains in this role, it will not be the last. He is unfit to serve in the government, and it is past time for him to leave the ORR and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 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. Immigrant women deserve support and justice from our government.
“Just this week, Alex Azar, Trump’s nominee for secretary of HHS — the agency that oversees ORR — testified before the Senate Finance Committee and said nothing about Lloyd’s unlawful practices. If confirmed, Azar should reverse this unconstitutional policy and remove Lloyd from his position as director of ORR. All women should have control over their own bodies, health and lives, including access to abortion, regardless of their immigration status, and our policies must reflect that.
Scott Lloyd and the ORR have overstepped their positions at every opportunity, instead of following the law and allowing young women at ORR facilities to receive the health care they deserve, requiring the ACLU to take them to court again and again. In October, the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration must stop blocking a young immigrant woman in detention, Jane Doe, from accessing an abortion. Despite that order, the ORR blocked two more young women, Jane Poe and Jane Roe, requiring the ACLU to return to court just last month on behalf of the women. In their cases, the federal district court ruled that the ORR could not block their abortions, joining an increasingly long line of court decisions against President Trump’s ORR. As the questioning of the federal district court made clear, Lloyd is trying to impose his will on these young women in violation of their constitutional rights.
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.