A political appointee from New Jersey is the right wing religious fanatic at the center of a controversy between the federal government and human rights groups that want to enforce a court order allowing women detained by immigration authorities to get an abortion if they want one.
President Donald Trump appointed Edward Scott Lloyd to be the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
ORR provides services to refugees and individuals who have been granted asylum in the United States, as well as care and assistance for aliens in the United States who are the victims of trafficking; torture victims who have immigrated to the United States; and unaccompanied alien children in federal custody while their status is being resolved.
Lloyd, who goes by the name Scott, was born and raised in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lloyd is systemically and illegally 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,” said an ACLU statement.
The ACLU said forcing young women to undergo pregnancies against their will is not only clearly unconstitutional – it’s unconscionable.
The ACLU took Lloyd and the administration to court for blocking a 17-year-old, immigrant woman, identified in court papers as ‘Jane Doe,’ from getting an abortion after a judge ruled that she could.
The court said it was ‘astounded’ by the government’s position and agreed with us immediately: forcing a young woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will violates the U.S. constitution and is clearly illegal.
The Trump administration is still preventing Jane Doe from getting the abortion she needs and government lawyers filed an appeal of the judge’s order, so the ACLU is going back to court to seek justice for the young woman.
Jane Doe’s story is not isolated, according to the organization and New Jersey choice advocates, such as Lisa McCormick.
“The Trump administration’s no-abortion policy applies to all unaccompanied immigrant youth in its custody, and many of them have horrifying stories,” said McCormick. “That’s why people need to speak up. We have to change the administration’s brutal policy about the health of young immigrant women.”
“What kind of country will we be if we allow this to continue?” asked McCormick. “The administration must stop forcing its ideological agenda, driven by personal religious views, on young people who are being held in custody.”
McCormick said she posted a petition online to let citizens tell Scott Lloyd and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to stop breaking the law by denying young immigrant women their right to safe abortion care.
“A woman’s right to choose a safe, legal abortion is protected by the US Constitution,” McCormick said. “I encourage everyone who cares about liberty and justice to visit my website at www.lisamccormick.org to sign our petition to protect the right to choose.”
The American Civil Liberties Union prevailed in court last week on behalf of a young woman in federal custody in Texas since she was caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in early September, who has been prevented from accessing abortion care by the Trump administration.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement has prevented a 17-year-old, who is being held at a shelter for unaccompanied immigrant minors in Texas, from getting an abortion. The ACLU challenged the obstruction and the judge has ordered that the young woman be permitted to get the abortion she decided on and requested weeks ago.
“At last, our client will be able to get the care she needs without federal officials standing in the way,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Her courage and perseverance are incredible, but no one should have to go to court to get a safe, legal abortion. And no one should be held hostage to the extreme anti-abortion views of a handful of government officials.”
“Janes everywhere are rejoicing that their dignity and humanity have been recognized and respected by the federal court,” said Susan Hays, legal director of Jane’s Due Process, a legal referral source for teens facing unintended pregnancies in Texas.
The emergency order issued by the federal courtOctober 18, 2017, pertains specifically to the one woman but ACLU lawyers also asked the court to strike down the government’s policy preventing young immigrants who want one from obtaining an abortion.
On Monday, Members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services asking for answers about ORR’s treatment of the ACLU’s client and other unaccompanied immigrant minors.
Attorneys on the case include Amiri, Meagan Burrows, and Daniel Mach from the ACLU; Arthur Spitzer and Scott Michelman of the ACLU of the District of Columbia; Jennifer Chou and Mishan R. Wroe of the ACLU of Northern California; and Melissa Goodman of the ACLU of Southern California.
More information about the case is at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/garza-v-hargan-challenge-trump-administrations-attempts-block-abortions-young-immigrant-women
Garza v. Hargan complaint is at: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/garza-v-hargan-complaint-injunctive-relief-and-damages
The New Jersey religious fanatic Lloyd said in an email in March that federally funded shelters “should not be supporting abortion services pre or post-release; only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.”
The judge pointed out that the federal workers took the teenager, against her wishes, to a Christian pregnancy facility for counseling aimed at persuading her not to abort, and also informed her mother about the pregnancy. Both steps potentially violated the girl’s constitutional protections, Chutkan said.
An appeals court in Washington D.C. issued a ruling Friday that allows the government to delay the 17-year-old undocumented woman’s ability to get an abortion until October 31.
“Justice is delayed yet again for this courageous and persistent young woman. She continues to be held hostage and prevented from getting an abortion because the Trump administration disagrees with her personal decision,” said Amiri, her ACLU attorney. “Our client and women across this country should be able to access a safe, legal abortion without federal officials stepping in to interfere. We are investigating all avenues to get justice for her.”
Prior to joining ORR, Lloyd was Senior Policy Coordinator to the Knights of Columbus a Catholic fraternal and charitable organization, where he served as an attorney in the public policy office.
During the Bush Administration, Lloyd worked in the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services where he co-authored the 2008 “conscience rule” that allowed health care workers, hospitals and even entire insurance companies to decline to perform, refer or pay for any practice that violates a ‘religious belief or moral conviction.’
But opponents of that rule argued that it would threaten patients’ health.
“This is a very wide, broadly written regulation that upsets what has been a carefully established balance between respecting the religious views of providers, while also making sure that we’re guaranteeing patients access to health care,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Richards raised as one example, state laws requiring that rape victims treated in hospital emergency rooms be offered the option of taking emergency contraceptive pills to prevent pregnancy.
The Bush administration rule let providers who don’t approve of birth control to refrain from telling women about that option.
Women who are the victim of sexual assault either would not be guaranteed either information or health care access to emergency contraception.”