If you want to know where this is headed, if you want a glimpse of what the future may hold if things aren’t turned around politically, take a look at what is happening to pregnant, undocumented teenagers being held in government-funded refugee shelters down in Texas.
According to Politico, several of the pregnant girls have decided against bringing a child into the world under those circumstances and have requested early-term abortions. Private financing has been arranged to allow those abortions, meaning no tax money would be involved, and other legal hurdles have been cleared as well. However, Trump administration officials — acting largely out of their own personal beliefs — are forcing those girls to carry their pregnancies to term, against their will, even in cases of alleged rape or incest.
Furthermore, after requesting an abortion, the girls are instead being forced to undergo pro-life, religion-based “counseling.” According to an email sent by Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, “Grantees should not be supporting abortion services pre- or post-release; only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.” Lloyd has even intervened personally to head off requested abortions.
“While the child is in our custody, our goal is to provide food, shelter and care to her under federal statute,” an HHS spokesperson old Politico. “We are providing excellent care to the adolescent girl and her unborn child, who remain under our care until the mother’s release.”
Politico could find no evidence that the new ban was a result of a formal policy change. And Lloyd, appointed to the refugee position in March, has a long history of personal and professional activism in anti-abortion causes.
As an immigration newsletter described his background:
“While at Catholic University, Scott served as a research assistant in the school’s Law & Religion Program. In that capacity, Scott assisted in representing the Schiavo family during the famous case, Schindler v. Schiavo.
Prior to his appointment to ORR, Lloyd served on the Board of Directors of the Front Royal Pregnancy Center and is vice chairman and co-founder of the WitnessWorks Foundation for a Culture of Life. He was a contributing writer at (Human Life International America), as well as Veritas Splendor and the Center for Morality in Public Life’s Ethika Politka.”
Lloyd has every right, as a private citizen, to advocate for his pro-life beliefs in the political system, in the courts and in the court of public opinion. He does not have the right — not yet, anyway — to impose those personal beliefs on others who have been placed under his authority by the government.
He’s not a 16- or 17-year-old girl, frightened and alone and trapped in a refugee center, not knowing what the future may hold. He’s not the child who has concluded that raising another child might be too much to handle under those circumstances. But if given the power, he is more than willing to impose his own judgment on those who do find themselves in that situation.¹
And make no mistake: If given the same government power over American women in general that they claim to have over these young refugees, he and his colleagues would use that power the very same way. Just ask them.²
¹The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit in federal court challenging the policy advanced by Lloyd.
² As Paul42 notes in the comments below, Scott Lloyd also advocates making contraceptives illegal. According to an abstract of a piece that Scott wrote for the National Catholic Bioethics Center, titled “Can We Be Pro-Life and Pro-Contraception?”: “…widespread access to contraceptives actually leads to increases in the abortion rate. To oppose abortion, the pro-life movement should speak with a unified voice in opposition to contraception as well.”