HHS Secretary Alex Azar: I Won’t Fire Officials for Protecting Illegal Immigrants’ Unborn Babies

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 17, 2018   |   8:00AM   |   Washington, DC

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar defended a policy encouraging life-affirming options for pregnant illegal immigrant minors Thursday during a House subcommittee meeting.

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have been demanding that Azar fire Scott Lloyd, who leads the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement, because of his life-affirming policies.

The Hill reports U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, asked Azar if he will fire Lloyd.

Azar refused. He said the HHS has a duty to support both pregnant girls and their unborn babies who are in their care.

“We have to look out for the interests of these children and their unborn children,” Azar said. “Part of that is talking to the parents to get input, complying with state law. It’s a very difficult case-by-case situation, and if we get different guidance from the courts on how we need to be implementing that, we certainly will do that.”

He continued: “This is simply not an issue of Mr. Lloyd. This is the statutory obligation of the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to coordinate and improve the care of placement of these minors, including providing for serious medical services to them.”

But DeLauro criticized Lloyd for supporting life-affirming choices and blasted him for not being a doctor.

“Scott Lloyd is not a doctor. He is a lawyer. I have high regard for lawyers, but he is not a medical doctor,” DeLauro said. “In my view, he has shown disrespect for the Constitution, overstepped the boundaries, abused his authority and forced his own personal beliefs on immigrant women.”

U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican and a physician, defended the life-affirming policies. He said the issue is not about access to health care but access to abortion.

“Let’s just use the ‘a’ word,” Harris said.

Lloyd has been under constant attack from abortion activists ever since President Donald Trump appointed him to lead the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement last year.

Earlier in March, abortion activists drummed up media attention by attacking Lloyd for saying illegal immigrant minors have “no constitutional right to abortion.”

Lloyd, who is pro-life, issued a new policy in 2017 requiring that taxpayer-funded shelters for immigrants and refugees offer life-affirming support to girls who are pregnant. The duties of the office including providing basic care, including health care, to unaccompanied immigrant children until they are placed with a family member or sponsor.

Lloyd said the shelters may not take “any action that facilitates” an abortion for unaccompanied minors without his direct approval, and “grantees should not be supporting abortion services … only pregnancy services and life-affirming options counseling.”

The ACLU is challenging the policy in a lawsuit that could force the government to use tax dollars to help facilitate abortions for illegal immigrant minors.

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Lloyd came into the national spotlight last fall after the ACLU demanded that his office help facilitate an abortion for an unaccompanied minor in Texas. “Jane Doe” aborted her 16-week unborn baby on Oct. 25, less than a day after a federal appeals court forced Trump administration officials to help facilitate the abortion.

News reports indicate the teen needed mental health counseling after aborting her unborn child.

Lloyd has borne the brunt of the negative publicity, but ACLU attorneys have been accused of unethical behavior at least twice in the matter.

In November, the Trump administration said the pro-abortion legal group deceived the government about when an illegal immigrant teen’s abortion was scheduled. The government said this prevented it from appealing a court ruling that forced Lloyd’s office to help facilitate the girl’s abortion.

Then, in February, another pregnant illegal immigrant minor said she no longer wanted two pro-abortion attorneys to represent her because she was choosing life for her unborn baby.

“At this time I have changed my decision to have an abortion,” the young woman said, according to the court filing. “The people I saw yesterday were lawyers that made me sign, I … do not need their help because I do not want to have an abortion.”