EquityForward_Logo.png

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2019

Contact: Alexa Barrett, Communications Assistant
Email: alexa@equityfwd.org 
Phone: (914) 602-3147

New Documents Reveal HHS Continued Tracking Pregnant Minors After Departure Of Scandal-Ridden Refugee Director

Agency continued troubling practice while struggling to provide adequate care to minors 

New York, NY – As the Trump administration struggles to provide humane conditions for migrant children in its care, Equity Forward released newdocuments today revealing that the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) continued to meticulously track personal details about pregnant minors and their abortion requests. The documents were used in a new ACLU filing in the DC District Court as part of a long-running legal battle to protect the rights of women in ORR’s care.

The spreadsheets show the tracking continued long after embattled former ORR Director Scott Lloyd initiated the troubling and unnecessary practice as part of an illegal effort to deny access to abortion for minors in the agency’s care.

“We know now that as recently as last month, HHS continued to prioritize tracking intimate details about pregnant minors over its actual responsibilities — namely caring for the young people the Trump administration separated from their families,” said Michelle Kuppersmith, director of Equity Forward. “The question that remains is why? What reasonable explanation could Secretary Azar offer for prolonging such an invasive and unnecessary protocol?”

Kuppersmith continued, “The longer Azar refuses to provide the reasoning behind HHS’ actions, the more it appears he has something to hide. We hope Congress continues to ask the tough questions and hold HHS accountable for its deeply troubling conduct.”

After learning of Lloyd’s obsessive tracking in early 2018, Equity Forward worked for nearly two years to compel HHS to release public records related to this practice, first through Freedom of Information Act requests and later through litigation. According to the new documents, ORR continued to track abortion requests under ORR Director Jonathan Hayes as recently as June 13, 2019.

The records follow last week's report that the Trump administration separated almost 1,000 migrant children from their families since it was first ordered to stop the cruel practice over a year ago.

Click HERE to view the documents.

For more information on the Trump administration and HHS’ efforts to take away women’s rights, visit www.equityfwd.org.

###

Equity Forward is a watchdog organization that works to ensure transparency and accountability among anti-reproductive health groups and individuals.