Under E. Scott Lloyd, the antiabortion activist appointed by President Trump to lead the agency, ORR has prohibited pregnant undocumented minors from attending counseling at anywhere other than “life-affirming” crisis pregnancy centers. In fact, Lloyd requires federally funded shelters to request his personal permission before “facilitating” any access to abortion.
What’s most striking about Lloyd’s memo refusing Poe’s procedure is the utter lack of legal analysis. As a person within the United States, Poe had a constitutional right to an abortion. But Lloyd focused instead on his own religious convictions. “To decline to assist in an abortion here is to decline to participate in violence against an innocent life,” he wrote. “Moral and criminal responsibility for the pregnancy lies with [Poe’s] attacker, and no one else.”
Government officials’ personal beliefs don’t negate constitutional rights.