Scott Lloyd Must Be Stopped
If Scott Lloyd didn’t break the law, he came perilously close to doing so. Since his appointment in March as director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services, Lloyd has prohibited undocumented minors in federal custody from obtaining abortions. He has instructed subordinates to prevent these minors from meeting with attorneys and from going to court to request permission to terminate their pregnancies. He has personally met with multiple minors to coerce them to carry their unwanted pregnancies to term.
Does Lloyd have the authority to micromanage these minors’ medical decisions and deprive them of legal representation? He does not, argues the Campaign for Accountability, which has called on the Virginia State Bar to investigate whether Lloyd’s actions violated rules of professional conduct. (Lloyd is a member of the Virginia bar.) CFA alleges Lloyd may have engaged in interference with the administration of justice by preventing minors from attending court hearings. Moreover, he may have “misused his position” by “personally visiting unaccompanied immigrant minors, pressuring them regarding personal healthcare decisions, and providing individualized, detailed, and at times illegal direction to grantee shelters regarding their care.” Lloyd is not authorized to perform any of these tasks under federal law.
In a letter to the HHS inspector general, CFA also claims Lloyd may have committed contempt of court by violating state confidentiality rules regarding judicial bypass. Under Texas law, court records of bypass proceedings are confidential, and the court is authorized to enforce this confidentiality. Lloyd plainly violated those rules by calling at least one minor’s parents following her bypass hearing and divulging information regarding her pregnancy.
Perhaps most damningly, Lloyd may have flouted the terms of a long-standing federal settlement agreement—behavior that could put him in contempt of federal court. In 1997, the federal government entered a settlement in the long-running Flores v. Reno lawsuit, which involved the rights of undocumented, unaccompanied minors. Under the agreement, the government is legally obligated to provide these minors with emergency health care, family planning services, “a reasonable right to privacy,” and “legal services.” As CFA explains:
Mr. Lloyd appears to have violated the Flores settlement in a number of ways. He withheld family planning services from [Jane Doe], who was blocked from obtaining an abortion for weeks as Mr. Lloyd directed the grantee shelter to refuse to let her leave for her scheduled appointments. He has blocked at least one unaccompanied immigrant minor from seeking and receiving legal assistance. He has suggested circumventing the placement priorities of the Flores agreement in an apparent attempt to prioritize ideological opposition to abortion over the goal of placing unaccompanied immigrant minors with their family members. He has also potentially deprived unaccompanied immigrant minors of their reasonable right to privacy by notifying their parents or sponsors of their pregnancies, and has forced them to undergo “counseling” at crisis pregnancy centers.