Just recently, we learned that the Trump administration is blocking a 17-year-old Central American woman from having an abortion, a legal reproductive health procedure which she has requested and would be performed at no expense to the federal government. The unnamed minor is an undocumented immigrant being held in federal custody in Texas. As Texas law does not allow abortions beyond 20 weeks into a pregnancy and Jane Doe is 15 weeks pregnant, it appears that Scott Lloyd, Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement is imposing his personal anti-abortion agenda on this women by way of delay and obstruction.
Impacting more than 700,000 young people, the Trump Administration last September suspended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has put these young undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation from the only country they’ve ever known. Trump and the Republican-led Congress appear inclined to let the DACA program expire in March if they can’t trade the fate of these children for punitive measures on all other immigrants already in or desiring to immigrate to our nation. More than 12,000 DACA recipients reside in Virginia.
The abuse does not stop with immigrant children. Last week, the Republican-led Congress allowed the expiration of a program that provides healthcare to poor American children and pregnant woman. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), insures 65,000 children and over 1,000 pregnant in Virginia alone. Virginia and state agencies across the country are now preparing to shut down the CHIP program when money runs out early next year unless the program is reauthorized by Republicans who value tax breaks for the rich over health care for the poor.
Do we see a pattern here? Republicans leaders appear willing to play politics with the health and well-being of innocent children, using these children as bargaining chips to advance their agenda.
Frankly, November 2018 can’t come soon enough when voters will have an opportunity to put an end to this political child abuse. And we can start even sooner by sending a loud, clear message when we vote in just two weeks on November 7th.