CNA Staff, Sep 30, 2020 / 23:00 pm
Federal officials announced on Tuesday a new policy that will make it possible for undocumented teenage immigrants in federal custody to procure abortions, after nearly three years of litigation regarding the matter.
In a memorandum released on Tuesday, the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that staff and providers with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) would not "obstruct or interfere" with abortions or abortion counseling of "unaccompanied alien children."
The policy requires that federal staff or contracted care providers ensure that minors seeking abortions "have access to medical appointments related to pregnancy in the same way they would with respect to other medical conditions," and that they not prevent minors from obtaining abortions, in accord with relevant state laws.
But the policy also provides for opt-outs for religious providers, and clarifies that federal funds cannot be used for legal petitions, if a judicial bypass of state law regarding parental consent is requested.