WASHINGTON, D.C., December 22, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Trump Administration official says that rape and abortion are both forms of violence and one form of violence cannot “cure” another.
Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a memo released Thursday that the violence of abortion does not cure the violence of sexual assault.
Lloyd said in the memo he was convinced that assisting with an abortion for an unaccompanied illegal immigrant minor was not in the girl’s best interest and he could not authorize it, and that “abortion does not here cure the reality that she is the victim of an assault.”
“To decline to assist in an abortion here is to decline to participate in violence against an innocent life,” Lloyd stated.
The memo was included in a filing Thursday by the government, the AP reports, in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU over whether HHS’s responsibility for the unaccompanied minors in its care also includes facilitating abortions.
HHS declined to comment on whether Lloyd's memo denoted the department's official policy.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes on the costs of the abortion if the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, the AP report said. Medicaid covers abortion in the case of rape or incest as well under government policy that otherwise bans funding for most abortions.
In October the ACLU prevailed in the legal battle over allowing a 17-year-old pregnant girl in U.S. custody identified as “Jane Doe” to abort her child; the 16-week-old baby was aborted that month.
A second unaccompanied illegal immigrant seeking abortion, “Jane Roe,” was found to be lying about her age and since released to seek an abortion on her own, as she is age 19.
The third, “Jane Poe,” was roughly 22 weeks pregnant as of the December 17 memo, nearing the age when the unborn child’s chance at survival outside the womb markedly improves, and at a point when the abortion would be late-term.
The teen girl’s pregnancy is the result of rape, and she has said at least once she has threatened to harm herself if she doesn’t get the abortion, the memo says. She later said she is not a threat to herself. The memo says there is no indication the pregnancy threatens the girl’s physical health in any way.
Lloyd said he couldn’t authorize the refugee resettlement program to participate in the abortion request even in this most difficult case.
“I am mindful that abortion is offered by some as a solution to a rape,” he said. “In fact, some would suggest that, by declining to assist in the abortion we are in some way engaging in a form of violence against the mother, as in the notion that ORR is forcing her to carry her pregnancy to term.”
“I disagree” Lloyd said. “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 continued to say others might suggest that abortion is justified as a form of self-defense in this case.
“But this gets it wrong again,” Lloyd wrote in the memo. “The child—the one who is destroyed—is not an aggressor. The aggressor, again, was the rapist.”
He questioned how aborting the child is in the interest of the young woman when other options are available and the child might survive outside the womb.
“At bottom, this is a question of what is in the interest of the young woman and her child,” Lloyd said. “Here there is no medical reason for abortion, it will not undo or erase the memory of the violence committed against her, and it may further traumatize her.”
“In this request, we are being asked to participate in killing a human being in our care,” Lloyd wrote in conclusion. “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 protect life rather than to destroy it.”
The nation’s largest abortion chain attacked Lloyd on social media and called for his removal after the memo’s release Thursday.
“To deny a survivor of rape her right to safe, legal abortion is terrifying,” Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards tweeted. “It’s also unconstitutional, repugnant, and wrong.”
“@PPAct won’t let this go without a fight,” Richards went on. “I refuse to live in a world where men like Scott Lloyd can tell women what they can and can’t do with their bodies.”
“Scott Lloyd thinks his regressive opinions about abortion trump the constitutional rights of women,” the abortion giant’s PAC said in a petition calling for Lloyd to be fired.
Pro-life advocates also dispute the notion that aborting a child conceived in rape is best for the child’s mother.