Democratic senators admonished the Trump administration Friday for blocking a teenage girl who was in the country illegally from having an abortion and asked for a briefing on the policies around such decisions from for Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency that oversaw the teen's care.
In a letter, the senators accused the agency of "failing at this mission by denying access to legal healthcare, undermining privacy, denying access to attorneys, and potentially identifying sponsors in violation of the law." They asked for documentation about the agency's policies on medical care, including abortion and contraception, and information about disclosing pregnancy or abortions to a minor's parent. They also asked for documents about how the agency selects counselors for minors who are seeking abortions.
"We are extremely disturbed by the continued reports of intervention in the medical care of minors in the Office of Refugee Resettlement custody by ... Director Scott Lloyd and other Trump administration officials," they wrote in a letter to Eric Hargan, the acting secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services.
They wrote specifically that they were concerned Lloyd would "impose his own extreme views" on women who were seeking abortions. Lloyd, who in the past has raised questions about the effectiveness of contraception, reportedly has reached out to some other women in the U.S. who have been detained and who are considering getting an abortion.
“When there’s a child in the program who is pregnant, he has been reaching out to her and trying to help as much as possible with life-affirming options. … He by law has custody of these children, and just like a foster parent, he knows that that’s a lot of responsibility and he is going to make choices that he thinks are best for both the mother and the child," the Office of Refugee Resettlement wrote in a statement about Lloyd's actions.
Democrats slammed the statement in their letter and called it an "abuse" of Lloyd's role.
The girl, who is 17 and came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico, was being detained in South Texas, where she was blocked from obtaining an abortion. The girl's name has not been released and she is known as "Jane Doe" in court documents.
After a few weeks of legal battles, the girl obtained an abortion with help from a court order.
Democrats said in their letter that they were concerned about the agency's policies. They also raised concerns about whether the agency had adequately protected the girl's privacy, writing that "the media had information about the young woman’s whereabouts, the dates of her arrival in the United States, and the dates of her court appearances."
"Given this information, a trafficker could conceivably have identified Jane Doe," they wrote.