Last week, I reported that buried in a federal court opinion was a startling revelation: the Obama administration Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) transported minor illegal aliens to New Mexico for abortions to avoid state parental notification laws. Further digging in documents filed in the case, but not mentioned in the court opinion, reveal an even more extreme abortion-on-demand mindset of those charged with caring for the girls.
First, several email threads confirm last week’s reporting that under the Obama administration, girls were transported or transferred to other states to avoid parental notification laws. For instance, one email referenced the “need” to drive a minor to San Antonio from another Texas-based shelter. In this email, the ORR representative added, “we had driven minors from El Paso to Albuquerque NM which is bigger distance from your program to San Antonio [in] order to get this procedure done.”
Texas law requires minors to obtain parental consent or a judicial bypass to obtain an abortion, while New Mexico does not. Another email confirmed “this is why termination of pregnancies are done in New Mexico.” (This email also indicated the ORR representative had a cozy relationship with a Texas family court judge potentially involved in bypassing the state’s parental consent requirement.)
In another email, a Texas ORR field specialist noted that she “was contemplating the possibility of transferring a minor to a state where there is no need for parental consent for the termination of pregnancy if she decides to move forward with the termination.”
A further email exchange indicated the prevalence of this practice when, in response to a query from an ORR field specialist about transferring a girl to Illinois for an abortion, the Midwest representative noted that Illinois law had recently changed requiring parental notification. Thus, while the Illinois shelter was “happy to take her,” and the heartland shelter had “a ‘history’ of working well with Planned parenthood in Illinois and supporting our teens through this difficult process” of aborting, they needed to know about this new legal issue.
Late-Term Abortions? Yep
The ORR under Obama did not merely transport or transfer girls to avoid parental consent. It also appears, from the email correspondence, that pregnant minors, called unaccompanied alien children or UAC, were transferred to other states to obtain late-term abortions.
For instance, in one email, the field specialist asked for a transfer from Texas, which bans abortions after 20 weeks, to either a program in New York or Virginia. Late-term abortions—including post-viability abortions—are legal in both New York and Virginia, with New York allowing abortions for any reason up to 26 weeks pregnancy. (Because pregnancies are measured from a woman’s last menstrual period, a woman is 26 weeks pregnant at 24-weeks post-fertilization.)
Obtaining Federal Funding?
The email exchanges between Obama administration ORR employees also raise a serious question of whether the field specialists approved reimbursement for abortions or the travel costs related to the abortions. For instance, in one discussion concerning arranging for a minor to obtain an abortion, an ORR representative reminded everyone “that ORR programs can only pay for the termination of a pregnancy if it is a result of rape.”
But other email threads raised the possibility that the ORR employees were gaming the “rape” and “incest” exceptions to authorize taxpayer payments for the abortions. For instance, one exchange noted that a 17-year old had consensual sex with a 28-year-old man, but then later said she had sex with the man for money she used to travel to the United States. Notwithstanding the consensual nature of the sex, the email ended with a request for guidance because the “incident may not meet the criteria of rape.”
Another email conversation noted that a 16-year-old minor indicated a desire to abort her unborn baby. Her pregnancy was “from a consensual relationship and her boyfriend is a 17 year old male.” The boyfriend was apparently a cousin.
After noting that the “ORR will not pay for a termination if the pregnancy was the result of consenual sex,” the ORR represented noted that it might be possible to “consider this a rape” or to “allow for termination due to incest.”
Additionally, another email indicated that the ORR used federal funds to pay for the transportation and lodging costs incurred in transporting minors to other locations or states to obtain abortions.
Whether the ORR improperly used federal funds to pay for abortions, or travel expenses related to abortions, is unclear. But these emails suggest that possibility and a further investigation into the ORR officials involved is warranted.
While little else can be done at this point, these emails are nonetheless significant because they expose the extreme views of those leading the ORR program under the Obama administration—so extreme that they wanted girls to have access to late-term abortions, without any parental involvement, and with federal funding if at all possible. These facts deserve to be known.