The DOJ Tried to Block Abortion for Immigrant Teen Who Was Raped

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Lawyers for the Department of Justice attempted to block an
abortion for an immigrant teenager who said she was raped,
insisting that allowing her to do so risked inflicting
“additional trauma.”

The teen, identified as Jane Poe, was able to undergo her
abortion at 22 weeks, thanks to
a federal judge
who ruled that she be allowed the procedure
“promptly and without delay,” despite strenuous objections by
the Trump administration. What had not been reported at the
time the ruling was made was that the 17-year-old’s pregnancy
was the result of rape.


According
to Politico, Office of Refugee Resettlement
Director Scott Lloyd accepted the circumstances of Poe’s
pregnancy, but made it clear they made no difference to him.
Though at least one ORR official recommended that Poe be
allowed to obtain the procedure, Poe
wrote
:

“I cannot authorize our program to participate in the
abortion requested here, even in this most difficult case,”
Lloyd wrote in the memo. “At nearly 22 weeks, the child has
at least a fighting chance at survival if born.”

He said that even though evidence is scant, “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.”

While such a stance is nearly unfathomable in its cruelty, it
is in keeping with what is known about Lloyd, a religious
zealot who was
referred
to by the New York Times as “an
antiabortion crusader” and once
wrote
that “contraceptives are the cause of abortion.” His
bright ideas also included a proposal that “the American people
make a deal with women” (apparently considered a separate group
from “the American people”):

“So long as you are using the condom, pill or patch I am
providing with my money, you are going to promise not to have
an abortion if the contraception fails, which it often does,”
Lloyd wrote.

Women, he added, should “sign a pledge” that if they have an
abortion, they would become ineligible for taxpayer-funded
contraception.

Lloyd was determined to be qualified for the job as ORR head on
the basis that he
served
as an attorney for the Knights of Columbus public
policy office, where he “helped shape the organization’s
humanitarian response and led its policy advocacy on behalf of
the ethnic and religious minorities who are victims of ISIS.”

Last week, DOJ lawyers wrote that Poe should simply return to
her home country to obtain an abortion, or find an American
sponsor. Lloyd did not mention the fact that Poe’s sponsor,
along with her mother, threatened to beat her if she went
through with the procedure.

In his memo, Lloyd wrote:

“In this request, we are being asked to participate in
killing a human being in our care. I cannot direct the
program to proceed in this manner. We cannot be a place of
refuge while we are at the same time a place of violence. We
have to choose, and we ought to choose [to] protect life
rather than to destroy it.”

Both the Bush and Obama administrations followed guidelines
that allowed federal funds to be used to abortions of teenage
immigrants if they were victims of rape.

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