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Feds send pregnant migrant teens to states where they can get abortions

As illegal immigrant children cross the southern border, Biden Administration says he’s making sure to place pregnant teens in states where they can still get abortions following this summer’s Supreme Court ruling.

Even though bed space for children is limited, the administration revealed in court documents that he reserves some to ensure pregnant juveniles have a landing spot at an approved facility in abortion-friendly states — even if that means other children end up in unlicensed establishments.

The children in question are those who arrive at the border without parents – unaccompanied foreign children, or UAC. Under federal law and court rulings, most of them must be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services for care while they wait for sponsors to pick them up.

“Pregnant children are considered particularly vulnerable children under the EIS settlement agreement, and so the settlement considerations, along with recent actions by state governments and the U.S. Supreme Court, have further influenced ORR’s decision-making so that it can keep appropriate licensed placements open and available for a pregnant child who may need access to medical care,” administration U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee said in court filings last week.

The focus on abortion does not sit well with Republicans.

“In a new low, even for the most pro-abortion president in US history, President Biden apparently wants pregnant minors who illegally cross our southern border to be placed in states where they can have abortions,” said Sen. James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma. “His priority seems to be increasing abortions in America, rather than stopping illegal immigration or protecting children’s lives.

“These unaccompanied children should be safely and quickly reunited with their families in their home country, and not shipped to states where they can obtain an abortion, which is potentially a violation of the Hyde Amendment which prohibits the ‘use of federal funds for abortion,’ Mr. Lankford told The Washington Times in a statement.

More than 116,000 UACs were seized by Customs and Border Protection officers and agents in fiscal year 2022, through June. July figures have yet to be released.

As of Wednesday, HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which oversees children, had 11,156 in its facilities. Based on historical data, about a third of them are likely to be girls.

HHS did not say how many are pregnant or how many have indicated they want an abortion.

Peter Schey, the children’s lawyer in a class action lawsuit in which the administration revealed her abortion goal, said the number of pregnant teens “is tiny.”

He said that while he supports ensuring they have access to abortion, it is a poor excuse for leaving other children in unlicensed facilities.

“It would be far more humane and less costly for ORR to hire additional case managers to work on the rapid release of minors to their families than to pay the exorbitant costs associated with holding thousands of minors in the so- saying emergency shelters,” Schey said. The temperature.

These drop-in centers are only meant to be used in emergencies, as the care they provide is not as good as that of licensed facilities. Illnesses, assaults and poor medical care have all been reported at emergency facilities.

Mr. Schey fought against the administration on its decision to leave beds in approved facilities empty while using unapproved beds.

In its court documents, HHS said it used a “complicated decision-making process” to determine where to place the UACs. Part of that is emergency abortion planning, HHS found.

This concentration seemed strange to former officials.

“It would seem that the Biden Administration prioritizes abortion policy over the humanitarian part of its immigration mission. This is consistent with them prioritizing politics over everything,” said Ken Cuccinelli, who served as acting assistant secretary for homeland security in the Trump administration.

The Times has repeatedly asked HHS for data on the number of pregnant teens and abortion requests among the UAC population, but the department has not responded to those requests.

The department released a statement to The Times saying it is “monitoring any impact the Supreme Court’s decision may have on its programs.”

The judges, in a 6-3 decision in late June, overturned Roe v. Wade of 1973 which created a national constitutional right to abortion. Without Roe, the problem returned to the United States. A number of these states have laws that have come into effect limiting access to abortion.

Texas, for example, which now effectively bans abortion, has long been a major site of UAC facilities. Arizona, where a potential ban was blocked by a federal judge, and Florida, which bans abortions after 15 weeks, have also been big players in the UAC shelter business.

The number of abortions among migrant teenage girls has probably skyrocketed under the Biden Administrationsimply because the total number of arrivals is higher.

This is due to a policy change the Biden team made in January 2021, exempting the UAC from the Title 42 pandemic border closure policy that had allowed most illegal immigrants to be quickly turned away from the other side of the border.

The number of arriving UACs encountered by border officials was 5,882 in January and had averaged less than 4,000 over the previous seven months.

But in March 2021, barely two months after the Biden experience, UAC arrivals approached 19,000, and over the next 15 months averaged over 14,000 per month.

The Trump administration has also taken a different approach to abortion access for UAC, adding an extra layer of scrutiny and discouraging teens in custody from seeking to exercise this option.

It sparked an ugly legal battle, with abortion rights advocates arguing that once here, children had a constitutional right to an abortion. Trump administration advocates have countered that the United States risks becoming a destination for “abortion tourism”, with minors seeking to jump the border to have the procedure when it may be illegal at home.

A federal district judge sided with abortion rights advocates, ruling that she would not force girls to return to countries where they would not have access to abortion.

During the case, the government revealed certain data on the frequency of abortion.

In fiscal year 2017 data, the government recorded the capture of 41,546 UACs and of these, 420 pregnant teens ended up in the custody of HHS.

Eighteen had requested an abortion and 11 had undergone the procedure while in detention. Five others canceled their application and two were given to sponsors before a final decision was made.

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