The courts ordered the Trump administration to allow an undocumented teen to get an abortion. Then officials discussed using a controversial and scientifically unproven method to “reverse” her abortion.
On Wednesday, VICE News reported that a Trump administration official in charge of the Office of Refugee Resettlement discussed defying the courts and trying a controversial and scientifically unproven method to try to “reverse” the abortion process.
“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.”
I can’t believe that interrupting midway and reversing an abortion is even a thing. But apparently it is.
In recent years, anti-abortion activists have been championing this controversial idea of stopping a medication induced abortion midway by using the hormone progesterone. Abortion opponents have already pushed governors in four states to pass legislation requiring healthcare providers to tell patients about this “abortion reversal” method. But there is no credible evidence that this method works.
“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.””
According to the Food and Drug Administration, women getting a medication abortion have to take two pills. After they take the first they have 24-48 hours to take the second pill to complete the abortion.
In March of last year, the Trump administration delayed allowing an undocumented pregnant teen to take the second pill for several hours until they could assess the “health status” of her “unborn child.”
According to a March 6 memo, the teen was forced to get an examination at a local hospital where they found a fetal heartbeat more than 24 hours after the girl had taken the first pill.
When Lloyd was asked why the girl had to have such an examination he answered, “I’m not- I’m not exactly sure.”
“Did you have conversations about whether the medication abortion could be reversed?” he was asked in a December deposition.
“I may have,” Lloyd said.
Then he was asked, “Who did you have those conversations with?”
Lloyd answered, “Other transition staff, including attorneys.”
“Why would ORR seek to try to reverse the abortion of an unaccompanied minor?”
“I don’t know, I mean except to save the life of the baby,” Lloyd replied.
On March 3 of last year, a 17-year-old girl who had been raped and who already had the permission of a Texas judge to get an abortion took the first pill to start the procedure.
She planned to take the second pill the next day, but in the middle of the night the then-acting ORR Director Kenneth Tota sent out an email to his staff saying that minors in their custody could not have an abortion without permission from the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
“If steps can be taken to preserve the life of the UAC [Unaccompanied Alien Child] and her unborn child, those steps should be taken,” Tota wrote. He added, “In any event, the health and safety of the UAC must be preserved.”
“On the same day Tota sent that memo, the abortion clinic handling the teen’s care received an email from an official at the ORR-operated shelter housing the teen, which asked questions about the safety of using the hormone progesterone to reverse an abortion.”
“On behalf of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, please answer this questionnaire as soon as possible,” the email begins. It goes on to ask four questions, including, “To the best of your knowledge and clinical practice, is the administration of progesterone following administration of Mefiprix [sic], but before the administration of Cytotec, for the purpose of aborting a chemical abortion process, widely practiced?”
The email was never answered.
In the end, ORR officials abided by the court ruling, did not give her progesterone, and allowed the girl to take the second pill a day later to complete her abortion. But it’s alarming that they were even considering experimenting with these young girls. Just insane.