A transcript of a deposition released Wednesday revealed that Scott Lloyd, a long-time proponent against abortion and the head of Department of Health and Human Services’ the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) , does not believe undocumented immigrants have the constitutional right to an abortion.
The revelation comes in the wake of several lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in October after it learned that four teenagers under the supervision of the ORR led by Lloyd were prevented from terminating their pregnancy by the administration by blocking their access to abortion.
In the deposition, Brigitte Amiri — the lead ACLU lawyer on the case — asked Lloyd if he believed that undocumented teens had no “constitutional right” to abortion because of their “immigration status.”
“Do I believe that unaccompanied children have no constitutional right to abortion?” Lloyd asked in return.
“Because of their immigration status,” Amiri added.
“Yes,” Lloyd responded.
Lloyd admitted that he had instructed minors seeking abortion to be taken to what he and Amiri referred to as “crisis pregnancy centers” — anti–abortion rights family planning clinics. Lloyd said he believed the act of aborting a child is akin to “destruction of life.”
Lloyd, who has been known to use any means necessary to uphold his beliefs, attempted to block abortion of an undocumented teen in March 2017. On March 3, 2017, an unaccompanied minor began the process of abortion by taking the first pill but did not complete the medicated procedure that Involves consuming the second pill 24-48 hours after the first pill.
The evidence, produced in the case against ORR by ACLU accusing it of blocking her access to abortion, disclosed a memorandum issued by Kenneth Tota, the acting director of the ORR, dated Mar. 4, 2017, which stated that the girl was ordered to be taken to the emergency room to determine the status of the unborn child before she could be given the second pill.
The memo reads: “If steps can be taken to preserve the life of the (teenager) and her unborn child, those steps should be taken.”
A report by BuzzFeed said, the emails redacted by the Justice Department revealed Lloyd instructed people working at the federal-funded shelters for undocumented minors to be brought to the crisis pregnancy shelters if they request for an abortion.
Last year, a legal battle that ensued between another teenager who was denied an abortion and the Trump administration resulted in the victory of the minor who was granted the right to abort her child after undergoing counselling to comprehend the ramifications of her decisions.
Lloyd, who asserted his views while denying abortion to the minor rape victim, stated he didn’t deem the abortion to be in the best interest of the girl.
“I think it’s deeply troubling that a government appointee, who has sworn to uphold the constitution, thinks that the constitution doesn’t apply to the marginalized population he’s supposed to be in charge of protecting,” Amiri told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday night.