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Conscience Magazine

FOIA Docs Reveal Anti-Abortion Appointee’s “Creepy” Preoccupation

By Conscience September 17, 2019

A Freedom of Information Act request filed with the Department of Health and Human Services produced a spreadsheet used to track details about the pregnancies of immigrant children in the agency’s care. The newly obtained documents include multiple columns of information about each girl, including the circumstances of the pregnancy (rape or consensual activity), the location where the act occurred, if the minor had expressed a desire to obtain an abortion and, in some cases, details about menstrual cycles and miscarriage. Scott Lloyd, then head of the agency’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), had denied that the agency collected such information in a congressional hearing earlier this year. Lloyd, a Catholic anti-abortion activist, also denied personally contacting any minor children to talk them out of terminating their unwanted pregnancy. However, emails included in the document release show Lloyd referring to conversations he had with pregnant girls in at least one Texas shelter, which Lloyd also confirmed in depositions. Moreover, an ACLU lawsuit claims that details about menstrual cycles and gestational age provided the information Lloyd needed to block abortion access to immigrant girls, often detained or housed in states with gestational limits on the procedure. In at least one case, Lloyd ordered that a girl scheduled for release be detained longer to undergo anti-abortion “counseling.” The ACLU further alleges that Lloyd would require girls to tell their families in their home countries or their US sponsor families or both. As one ACLU attorney put it, “Scott Lloyd was creepily involved.”

Lloyd has since been reassigned to the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, but immigrant rights groups are calling for a criminal investigation into his conduct as ORR chief. The chair of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Lloyd requesting he “clarify” his answers on whether he tracked menstrual cycles or personally contacted any of the pregnant minors.


Conscience

Offers in-depth, cutting-edge coverage of vital contemporary issues, including reproductive rights, sexuality and gender, feminism, the religious right, church and state and US politics. Our readership includes national and international opinion leaders and policymakers, members of the press and leaders in the fields of theology, ethics and women's studies.


Tagged Abortion