Ex-Director Of Refugees Brags About Forcing Teens To Give Birth Against Their Will
You all remember Scott Lloyd, right? The anti-choice fanatic lawyer who was the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement despite having absolutely no experience in that area? The guy who was part of the stellar team that oversaw the separation of children from their parents? The guy who believes no one should be able to have an abortion because his ex-girlfriend got one and he's still mad about it? The guy who held a teen girl hostage in order to prevent her from having an abortion? The guy who forced another teen girl into an emergency room because she had taken an abortion pill and he wanted to make them reverse it? The guy who kept a freaking database of when all of the teenage girls he oversaw were menstruating and wouldn't let them see actual doctors but instead forced them to go to crisis pregnancy centers where they got propaganda and ultrasounds and personal pleas from Scott Lloyd about the evils of abortion?
The guy who has probably done even worse things than all of this that we can't even think of right now?
Yeah, him. He's back. Not in the way that he is in charge of anything, thank goodness — he's just writing for The Federalist, which I guess is the place you go when you want to say something extraordinarily terrible and also be paid for it. By whom, we still do not know.
The Federalist published an essay from Lloyd on Monday, titled "How The United States Can Stop Helping Illegal Immigrants Get Abortions" in which he literally brags about his "tactics" in forcing migrant teen girls to give birth against their will — framed as an outline for how the Trump administration can keep doing that and get away with it.
In late February 2017, as a Trump administration appointee to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I received my assignment as the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In that role, I oversaw more than 100 shelters for immigrant children and teens present in the United States without legal status. Less than a week into performing those duties came an unexpected development: our office received three requests for abortions from teens in the shelters run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Let us once again mention that he did not do a particularly good job of overseeing these "shelters" for immigrant children and teens, which is probably why he no longer has that job.
This was the first time the administration confronted these circumstances. We examined whether there was any legal obligation for the government to assist these teens in obtaining these abortions. After careful analysis of the issue, we found there was not. Instead, we would have to review each request on a case-by-case basis, treating both the unborn child and the mother as lives deserving protection.
To be clear, no one was asking the government to "assist" teens in obtaining an abortion. They were simply asking to go have one. In the case of the girl Lloyd held hostage, a judge gave her express permission to get one and her guardian was going to take her. Lloyd simply refused to let her leave to go do it, although she was allowed to see a doctor who forced her to watch an ultrasound and talked to her about how abortion was bad.
The undocumented pregnant teen being prevented from getting an abortion by the Trump administration just obtained a… https://t.co/I5gxgman73— Ema O'Connor (@Ema O'Connor)1508943934.0
It was not his business to treat these fetuses as "lives deserving of protection." They were not in his body. When he has a fetus in his body, he will be free to protect it all he likes.
The government argued that when refusing to use taxpayer assets to assist these girls in obtaining abortions while we searched for a sponsor for the child, our office was not imposing an undue burden on obtaining an abortion. The argument did not question the applicability or appropriateness of the Supreme Court's Planned Parenthood v. Casey abortion framework.
That was not his business to do. Those girls did not want to give birth and put the babies up for adoption, they wanted to not give birth. They wanted abortions. And they would not have required the use of "taxpayer assets" outside of the unlocking of a door to allow someone to take the girls to go get their damned abortions. By not opening the damn door, by keeping them locked away and unable to leave to seek medical care, they were in fact imposing an undue burden.
But Lloyd is looking at this a whole nother way now! His new tack is claiming these girls were not technically in America, which means they don't get no constitutional rights, based on his interpretation of the Supreme Court's decision in Department of Homeland Security v. Thuraissigiam, decided in June of this year. The gist of that decision was Sri Lankan asylum-seeker Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, an "inadmissible alien who was apprehended almost immediately after illegally crossing the U.S. border and was placed into expedited removal proceedings," was not entitled to due process or habeas corpus.
He cites two things Justice Alito wrote in the decision.
For foreigners who have never been naturalized, nor acquired any domicile or residence within the United States, nor even been admitted into the country pursuant to law, the decisions of executive or administrative officers, acting within powers expressly conferred by Congress, are due process of law.
When an alien arrives at a port of entry — for example, an international airport — the alien is on U.S. soil, but the alien is not considered to have entered the country for the purposes of this rule. On the contrary, aliens who arrive at ports of entry — even those paroled elsewhere in the country for years pending removal — are treated for due process purposes as if stopped at the border.
Lloyd, who appears to believe that detention facilities are "ports of entry," claims this gives future ORR officials the right to deny teenage migrant girls the ability to have an abortion.
This reasoning confirms the position Wagner and I staked in our response to the Garza litigation. More importantly, it provides a sound legal basis for a renewed policy of refusing to assist in obtaining abortions for teens who are temporarily in the care of the United States.
At issue is not just a question of the government getting out of the way and allowing abortion to happen. There is, arguably, a requirement that the federal government accompanies these minors to their abortions (6 U.S.C. 42 (b)(2)(B) forbids ORR from releasing these teens on their own recognizance). This is indeed how we understood our legal obligations during the litigation.
In any case, from a programmatic perspective, the program never would (and ought not to) consider allowing the children to travel with a third party without its supervision. Accordingly, these abortions require federal grantees to make arrangements for the abortion, supervise the transport of the teens, accompany them during the procedure, take them back to the shelter, and administer all necessary follow-up medical care and psychological services. Our federal tax dollars, in other words, are contributing to these deaths when they occur.
It is a major, major stretch to say that accompanying a girl to the doctor for a medical procedure is using federal tax dollars for abortions if she cannot go to the doctor any other way.
It's also a pretty major stretch to say that people who are currently being held in detention here and are not allowed to leave are not actually here.
Legally, the Supreme Court has affirmed that individuals do not obtain the full battery of Substantive Due Process rights, including to abortion, when they cross into the country illegally.
The decision in Thuraissigiam implies that any effort to reform the policy would receive support if instituted on the basis that these teens have not effected an entry into this country and as such, any right to abortion must come from Congress.
Honestly, I think that when it gets to this point, it's not just being opposed to abortion. There's something else going on there. This man is legitimately obsessed by the idea of getting to force teenage girls held in captivity to give birth against their will and in a way that does not appear to actually have anything to do with a moral stance of any kind.
We're all gonna need a palate cleanser after that, so here is Rep. Pramila Jayapal taking the creep down.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse