The Trump administration’s controversial refugee office director is writing a book about his anti-abortion beliefs, two individuals with knowledge confirmed to POLITICO.
Scott Lloyd, who’s been under fire for his stewardship of separated migrant children in federal custody, has been working on the book while employed at HHS, the individuals say. Government employees typically are discouraged from writing books about subjects that overlap with their official responsibilities, and HHS lawyers have been involved in the matter.
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HHS declined to comment.
Lloyd’s book has added a further wrinkle to an ongoing review of his work, with HHS senior officials concluding that he mismanaged aspects of this summer’s migrant crisis. Lloyd’s struggles to run his office led HHS Secretary Alex Azar to effectively remove him as the Trump administration worked to reunite thousands of children with their families ahead of a court-ordered deadline.
Lloyd’s book would detail the need for anti-abortion policies, drawing on his own spiritual “awakening,” said one person familiar with the project. While in law school, Lloyd wrote about his anguished decision to help pay for a partner to get an abortion and how that shaped his beliefs, Mother Jones reported this summer.
“The truth about abortion,” Lloyd reportedly wrote in 2004, “is that my first child is dead, and no woman, man, Supreme Court or government — NOBODY — has the right to tell me that she doesn’t belong here.”
HHS has said that Lloyd’s personal beliefs have not influenced his leadership of its Office of Refugee Resettlement. However, Lloyd last year began personally intervening to prevent unaccompanied minors from obtaining abortions — prompting a rash of lawsuits and calls for his firing from Democrats and women’s rights organizations.
Prior to being tapped by the Trump administration as refugee office director, Lloyd’s expertise was as an anti-abortion advocate who pushed to roll back abortion rights. While Lloyd did write reports about the plight of religious minorities in the Middle East, he had no experience managing the care or resettlement of refugees, according to a December 2017 deposition conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union during a court case over the abortion rights of unaccompanied minors.
As refugee office chief, Lloyd emerged as a hero to many in the anti-abortion movement, who applauded his decision to block abortions for some migrant teens and have defended him — publicly and behind the scenes to Azar — as calls mounted for his firing.