According to documents examined by VICE News, the head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement considered using a scientifically dubious procedure known as 'reverse abortion' on an undocumented teen whose pregnancy had been terminated.
Scott Lloyd, a longtime crusader against abortion who heads the agency that oversees undocumented minors who enter the country without their parents, spoke with staffers about trying to reverse the abortion of a pregnant teen in their custody, according to a deposition he underwent as part of a lawsuit between the Trump administration and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The concept of reversing an abortion involves stopping the medication-induced abortion midway and beginning progesterone treatments. The medical community worries the method amounts to experimentation on women, as there are no credible studies showing the technique is effective.
Nevertheless, Lloyd said in the deposition that he and his staff discussed the possibility of abortion reversal. Emails obtained by VICE News, including one sent last March to the clinic handling the abortion of a teenager in ORR’s custody, also mention progesterone explicitly and show that officials had questions about the feasibility of using it “for the purpose of aborting a chemical abortion process.”
The reversal was not attempted, but the documents show that after the the girl had taken her first of two pills, the Trump administration delayed allowing her the second pill to check on the status of her "unborn child".
Just minutes before midnight on March 3, however, then-acting ORR Director Kenneth Tota blasted out an email to his staff: Under ORR policy, he said, shelters cannot let the minors in their custody seek abortion without written permission from the head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
“If steps can be taken to preserve the life of the UAC and her unborn child, those steps should be taken,” Tota wrote, using the abbreviation for “Unaccompanied Alien Child,” the technical term for minors in ORR’s custody. He added, “In any event, the health and safety of the UAC must be preserved.”