Protesting an anti-choicer at the UN

Emily Brooks reports on a protest at the United Nations against Scott Lloyd, a Trump administration official who has tried to deny refugee women their reproductive rights.

Trump administration official Scott Lloyd got an anti-welcome to New York City (Emily Brooks | SW)Trump administration official Scott Lloyd got an anti-welcome to New York City (Emily Brooks | SW)

A SMALL group of activists from NYC for Abortion Rights gathered outside United Nations headquarters on April 10 to demonstrate opposition to Scott Lloyd, the Trump-appointed director of the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Lloyd, an anti-abortion zealot, has been using his office to try to force undocumented minors seeking abortions to carry their pregnancies to term. The ORR is supposed to provide assistance to refugees in the U.S. and is also charged with the care of undocumented minors who are in the country without their parents.

In seeking to prevent one young woman from obtaining a woman, Lloyd's office argued in court that "there is no constitutional right" for an immigrant minor to have an elective abortion while in federal custody.

Lloyd has reportedly demanded that his staff provide him with a spreadsheet with information about any minors who have asked for abortions. He has then tried to intervene to prevent these young people from accessing the health care that they desire and are legally entitled to.

One HHS spokesperson creepily explained to the Washington Post in October that Lloyd sees himself as a parental figure--regardless of whether these minors want him to be one: "He by law has custody of these children, and just like a foster parent, he knows that that's a lot of responsibility and he is going to make choices that he thinks are best for both the mother and the child."

Among other things, Lloyd has ordered that young women be taken to crisis pregnancy centers and even suggested forcing one young woman to take progesterone to "reverse" a medication abortion that was already in progress, which is not an accepted medical procedure.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed multiple suits against Lloyd and these policies.

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LLOYD WAS at the UN as part of a Commission on Population and Development panel addressing the "effect of urbanization and migration on the family." Lloyd was specifically invited to take part in the panel by C-Fam, an anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-abortion extremist group.

Ironically for a discussion on the "family," the panelists were entirely male. As Rewire News reported:

Members of the panel, including representatives of Southern Poverty Law Center-identified hate groups, used thinly veiled "men's rights" and "family values" language, which have the effect of demonizing parents of undocumented and unaccompanied immigrant children. The panelists discussed immigration extensively through Biblical and historical lenses.

Topics left unaddressed included the Trump administration's recent plans to separate families at the U.S.-Mexico border, end family reunification, and detain pregnant people at great risk to their health and well-being, according to advocates. During the discussion, family separation was largely framed as an issue affecting migrants because of their "decision" to leave their family in their country of origin to migrate to the United States.

Protesting outside the UN, NYC for Abortion Rights activists showed that Lloyd wouldn't get to proclaim his anti-immigrant, anti-women, anti-pregnant people policies without a challenge.

Protesters carried signs that drew attention to these policies, declaring "Scott Lloyd has no right to tell pregnant immigrants what to do with their bodies," "No human is illegal: Abortion is a human right" and "Scott Lloyd is not welcome in NYC."

Passersby stopped to read the signs, some taking photos and asking for more information about Lloyd and his policies. A number expressed surprise and horror at Lloyd's position. One attendee of the meeting inside the UN stopped and talked with protesters and expressed support.

Participants stated their disgust with Lloyd's infringement on the rights of immigrants, women and pregnant people. One protester, Lillie, stated that she attended because she "wanted to highlight the connection between attacks on immigrants' rights and attacks on women's bodies and to show that restrictions on access to abortion affect the most vulnerable in our society."

Ellie found it "egregious that Scott Lloyd thinks he has the right to decide what women and girls can do with their bodies."

Other participants expressed disgust with the way that Lloyd seeks to deny undocumented migrants access to health care, and noted that this is another way that the Trump administration is seeking to target immigrants and undermine their rights.