Refugee Office Still Tracking Pregnancies, Raising New Questions

05.06.19 – This week, a government transparency group obtained a spreadsheet from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showing that the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) continued to track young women’s pregnancies months later than has been reported. The tracking was ongoing despite a preliminary injunction issued in March 2018 that ordered HHS to stop interfering with women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care.  

The spreadsheet details pregnancy information for young women in ORR custody from October 2017 through March 2019 — a year after the injunction was issued.

In response to these documents being made public, Mary Alice Carter, Executive Director of Equity Forward, said:

“It is ludicrous that the Office of Refugee Resettlement has continued to track young women’s pregnancies, as we know that is has previously used this tactic to violate civil rights and that the health department has an overall pattern of weaponizing health care information. We also know that ORR has repeatedly failed to comply with court orders.

These records raise new questions about ORR’s conduct that may violate a court order. Secretary Alex Azar needs to explain why he allows his employees to pursue their obsessions with young women’s bodies to the detriment of the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s critically important mission.”

The Office of Refugee Resettlement was previously run by anti-abortion advocate Scott Lloyd, and is now run by anti-food stamp advocate Jonathan Hayes. Neither have meaningful experience overseeing refugee operations. More information on Scott Lloyd and Jonathan Hayes can be found at HHSWatch.org, an extensive website with a library of research on more than 50 political appointees at our nation's health department.  

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