October 23, 2017 In The News, Themis Project

Attorneys for undocumented teen in Texas ask federal court for another hearing

By: Jackie Wang, Dallas Morning News, October 23, 2017

AUSTIN — Attorneys for an undocumented pregnant teen in Texas asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling against granting the teen an immediate abortion.

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union who represent the unaccompanied immigrant minor on Sunday night asked for another hearing in front of all active judges in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The minor, known as “Jane Doe” in court documents, was denied immediate abortion after a three-judge panel in a Washington D.C., federal appeals court ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services had until Oct. 31 to find a sponsor to take custody of Doe. The government argued they did not have to “facilitate” an abortion, and a sponsor could take Doe to an abortion clinic instead.

Meanwhile, a government watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the health department, asking for an investigation of the Office of Refugee Relations director.

The Office of Refugee Resources, an arm of Health and Human Services, oversees shelters funded by federal grants that house undocumented minors. The Campaign for Accountability requested Friday that the Inspector General look into Director Scott Lloyd’s interactions with other undocumented pregnant minors.

The watchdog organization pointed to specific instances where Lloyd tried to persuade pregnant minors in federal custody against abortion, as well as directing shelters to take the minors to crisis pregnancy centers.

“It is reprehensible that Scott Lloyd has been abusing his government position to jet around the country bullying scared young girls — some of whom have been the victims of rape and incest — into continuing pregnancies against their will,” the organization’s legal counsel Katie O’Connor said in a news release. “The Inspector General should immediately investigate his conduct.”

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