Raped Teen Immigrant Denied Abortion


Photo Credit: Yelp

Anti-abortion groups who favor greater legal restrictions on abortion, including complete prohibition, most often describe themselves as "pro-life," while abortion rights groups who are against such legal restrictions describe themselves as "pro-choice." Generally, the former position argues that a human fetus is a human person with a right to live, making abortion morally the same as murder. The latter position argues that a woman has certain reproductive rights, especially the right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. But what about unwanted pregnancies, especially when the teen became pregnant after being raped? Whose rights are more important in that case?

Jonathan White, a longtime government employee who at the time worked for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, documented in detail the steps taken to address the teenager’s pregnancy and request for an abortion. The teenager was taken to “options counseling” at a so-called crisis pregnancy center named Choices Pregnancy Center, in Arizona. A crisis pregnancy center (CPC) — sometimes called a pregnancy resource center (PRC) — is a type of nonprofit organization established to counsel pregnant women against having an abortion. The teenager isn’t named, but White wrote that she became pregnant after being raped by a group of men in her unnamed home country.

Vice News reports:

… After arriving in the United States, the teenager entered the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which oversees the care of underage migrants who enter the country without authorization and without their parents.

The teen was taken to the anti-abortion facility in January 2018, during the tenure of former ORR Director Scott Lloyd, a longtime abortion opponent who wanted to personally sign off on every request for an abortion made by a teenager in his agency’s care. Lloyd, who was appointed by the Trump administration, was transferred to another position within the Department of Health and Human Services in November.

It is unclear whether the teen who visited the facility in January ever received the procedure. But four other teens ultimately sued the department for refusing to allow them to get abortions while in its care.

On Monday, the Campaign for Accountability filed a request for an investigation with the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services over the emails.

The complaint alleges that Lloyd replied to an email about the teenager who wanted an abortion in January. In it, Lloyd asked that she be told that “support is readily available” if she wanted to become a parent and that “in some cases, women or minors who have had abortions have expressed regret from having done so, even when pregnancy is the result of sexual assault.”

“It appears Mr. Lloyd grossly misused his position as director of ORR to pursue his own personal and religious agenda, violating constitutional and federal law, and harming the very teenage girls that his agency is charged with protecting,” the Campaign for Accountability, which supports abortion rights, wrote in its complaint.

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