US official says rape and abortion both forms of violence

2017-12-22 22:53
Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion. (J Scott Applewhite, AP, File)

Activists with Planned Parenthood demonstrate in support of a pregnant 17-year-old being held in a Texas facility for unaccompanied immigrant children to obtain an abortion. (J Scott Applewhite, AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Houston - The US government official who oversees the agency sheltering immigrant minors says abortion and rape are both forms of "violence" in a memo released on Thursday that explains why he won't allow abortions even for teenagers who have been sexually assaulted.

Scott Lloyd heads the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the US Department of Health and Human Services, which faces an ongoing lawsuit over its refusal to allow teens in its care to have abortions.

Lloyd's efforts to dissuade teens in his office's care from having abortion were disclosed in previous court filings by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Those filings included emails in which he offers to connect a pregnant teen with a "few good families" who would "see her through her pregnancy".

But he appears to go a step further in a memo included in a filing on Thursday by the government, saying that his office has no obligation under the law or the US Constitution to allow abortions for anyone in a government shelter.

Official policy

ORR cares for thousands of minors at a time, most of them unaccompanied children and teenagers from Central America who have entered the US without legal permission.

The memo, dated on Sunday, explains why Lloyd refused a teenager's request even though agency staff had reason to believe the minor was impregnated in a rape.

"I am mindful that abortion is offered by some as a solution to a rape," Lloyd wrote.

But, he added: "Implicit here are the dubious notions that it is possible to cure violence with further violence, and that the destruction of an unborn child's life can in some instances be acceptable as a means to an end.

"To decline to assist in an abortion here is to decline to participate in violence against an innocent life," Lloyd said.

HHS declined to comment on Thursday on whether Lloyd's memo represented the department's official policy, which would separate it from other federal immigration authorities.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement allows adult women in its custody to have abortions. ICE assumes the costs of any abortion if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest.

Medicaid also covers abortion in the case of rape or incest, under government policy known as the Hyde Amendment that otherwise prohibits funding for most abortions.

The ACLU first sued the government on behalf of a 17-year-old teenager who was being denied an abortion.

After winning an appeals court ruling that allowed that teen to have an abortion, the ACLU then returned to court over the cases of two other teens who also sought the procedure. A federal judge ruled in favour of those two this week.

Lloyd became director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement in March after working for the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group that opposes abortion.

Planned Parenthood on Thursday called for Lloyd to be fired. In a statement, the group accused Lloyd of "imposing his personal beliefs on the young women in his agency's care".

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    us  |  gender rights

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.