Hilltop Views

Ourview: Pregnant teens in detention centers should not be subject to hypocritical “pro-life” ideals


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Each week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week’s editorial board is composed of Viewpoints editors Kenny Phipps and Lauren Sanchez.

For the past few months, Scott Lloyd, the head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, has been visiting pregnant teenagers in federal detention centers and urging them not to have abortions. Lloyd has taken action to ensure these teenage girls are “comfortable” enough in these detention centers to carry their pregnancies to term.

Under President Obama, women in detention centers who requested abortions were routinely able to obtain them. However, the new policy in the detention centers is to block abortions for these girls altogether. On Oct. 25, one girl who received Lloyd’s ridiculous counseling was allowed to obtain an abortion, but only after the case went all the way up to a federal appellate court.

Lloyd’s actions perfectly encapsulate the hypocrisy of an administration that claims to have women’s “health and safety” in its best interest while repeatedly making life more difficult for them.

In the case of blocking abortions for women in federal immigration detention centers, the government can barely provide care for American women who are forced to have their children.

How can it care for undocumented teenagers who are forced into the same situation?

In the Oct. 25 case, the girl in question was Central American and facing deportation before requesting an abortion. It would not be compassionate for the government to force her to have a baby, which would become an American citizen, only to deport the mother afterwards. It would only be worse if they were to separate the mother from her child. However, considering how much some Republicans hate immigrants having their children here, why would they want to keep the baby or allow it to be born in general?

It seems as though Lloyd and others like him are willing to sacrifice the health and happiness of women in order to enforce their religious doctrine, despite the separation of church and state that is a cornerstone of our democracy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the women are often taken to religiously affiliated pregnancy crisis centers, where they are forced to view an ultrasound and read literature that counsels against abortion. These practices are an egregious imposition of conservative ideology, and are unethical due to the biases a doctor at one of these religious centers would have towards an undocumented teenage girl seeking out an abortion.

One argument that is often brought up in defense of restricting access to safe, legal abortion procedures is that women are prone to regretting their decision. However, according to a study published by the University of California San Francisco, which tracked 300 women that obtained abortions over the course of three years, 95 percent were happy with their decision. Women hardly get abortions because they love killing babies; they’re either doing it because their unborn child is a product of rape, because they can’t afford to have a child or because they legitimately just don’t want a baby. No matter the circumstances, it’s ultimately their choice.

The federal government should not be counseling women out of having abortions. The steps it has taken to limit access to safe, legal procedures is indicative of a larger pattern of disrespect, which is only amplified in the cases of detained immigrants whose futures are uncertain.

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Ourview: Pregnant teens in detention centers should not be subject to hypocritical “pro-life” ideals