They’re holding her hostage

Michelle Goldberg has more on the government’s effort to force a teenager to have a baby she doesn’t want to have.

In early September, a 17-year-old girl from Central America was apprehended trying cross the border between the United States and Mexico. After being taken to a shelter for unaccompanied minors in South Texas to await immigration proceedings, she learned she was pregnant. The girl, referred to as Jane Doe in court filings, was adamant that she wanted an abortion. Because of Texas’ parental consent law, she needed to go to court to get a judge’s permission, which she did with help from Jane’s Due Process, a nonprofit legal organization that provides representation to pregnant minors in Texas. Jane’s Due Process collected money for the procedure from local abortion funds. It was scheduled for Sept. 28, near the end of Doe’s first trimester.

Then the Trump administration stepped in. Repaying his loyal supporters on the religious right, Donald Trump has given federal appointments to a number of anti-abortion activists. They’ve been working quietly to dismantle access to reproductive health care while the country is distracted by the president’s pyrotechnic outrages…

E. Scott Lloyd had little professional experience with refugees when Trump put him in charge of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which falls under the Department of Health and Human Services, in March. He did, however, have a long history of anti-abortion activism, and had written several articles decrying birth control. (One piece was subtitled, “Why You Can’t Be Pro-Life and Pro-Contraception.”)

What does anti-abortion activism have to do with refugee resettlement? Oh, nothing, but refugee resettlement does offer rich opportunities to persecute women, so naturally President Pussygrabber gave the job to Scott Lloyd.

At O.R.R., which operates the shelters that house unaccompanied minors like Doe, Lloyd was given authority over uniquely vulnerable pregnant girls. Experts estimate that around 60 percent of female migrants have been raped. Brigitte Amiri of the A.C.L.U., the lead attorney on Doe’s case, told me that at any one time, several hundred to a thousand pregnant unaccompanied minors are in U.S. custody. Under Lloyd, O.R.R. has banned shelters from helping any of these girls get abortions, instead mandating that they receive “life-affirming options counseling.”

So the Texas Jane Doe is one of hundreds, by now maybe thousands. Scott Lloyd must be so happy.

Evidently, word went down to the shelter where Doe was housed that, despite the judicial authorization she’d received, the staff was not to cooperate with her abortion. On Sept. 23, her lawyers say, she was taken to an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center, where she was forced to view an ultrasound. One of her lawyers told me that Lloyd had the shelter call Doe’s mother in her home country to tell her about the pregnancy, even though she said her mother was physically abusive. Throughout all this, Rochelle Garza, Doe’s court-appointed guardian, told me that the girl remained “unwavering in her decision to terminate the pregnancy despite the emotional abuse that she is enduring.”

A legal battle ensued. While it was fought, Garza said, the girl was placed under constant one-on-one supervision, and barred from all physical activity. When the shelter’s residents were taken on an outing to the park, Doe was made to sit on a bench while the other kids played. “They’re holding her hostage,” Amiri told me. “This is the most insane case I’ve ever worked on in my career.”

Hatred of women just never goes out of fashion.

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