The confirmation hearing for Xavier Becerra, President Joe Biden’s pick for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, is set to begin tomorrow before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Yet Republicans in both the House and Senate have sent a letter to the president demanding he withdraw his nomination of the California attorney general.
“Mr. Becerra’s lack of health care experience, enthusiasm for replacing private health insurance with government-run Medicare-for-all, and embrace of radical policies on immigration, abortion, and religious liberty, render him unfit for any position of public trust, and especially for HHS secretary,” the letter states, according to National Review.
From 1993 to 2017, Becerra was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing a large swath of Los Angeles. He has served as California’s attorney general for the last four years, but Republicans argue Becerra’s lack of experience in public health or medicine—coupled with his radical policy record on abortion and LGBTQ issues—is a recipe for disaster.
“Facing a once-in-a-century pandemic, one might think that Biden would nominate, say, a doctor or a seasoned health care executive to oversee the federal response and vaccine distribution,” Sen. Tom Cotton said.
Pro-life leaders are also voicing their concerns about the California Democrat.
“On the issue of abortion, Xavier Becerra has a decades-old track record of siding with the abortion lobby whenever possible and using the power of whatever office he is in to try and force others to share his enthusiastic support of abortion up until the moment of birth,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of the pro-life group Students for Life of America.
In an opinion piece for Fox News, Sen. Josh Hawley and Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, pointed out Becerra’s pattern of hostility toward pro-life supporters and policies.
In 2015, he voted against The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would have simply required doctors and other health care workers to provide the same degree of care to a baby born alive during an abortion as “to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
Two years later, Becerra pursued the prosecution of pro-life investigative journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, after they exposed Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting and sale of baby body parts. That same year, Becerra took the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates all the way to the Supreme Court in an effort to force California pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise and refer for abortion. He lost.
Becerra, a professing Catholic, also sued the Little Sisters of the Poor in 2017 in an attempt to take away the group’s religious exemption and force the Catholic order to provide contraceptive coverage in its health insurance. He again lost.
“No one who poses such a distinct danger to vulnerable unborn babies and mothers should be put in charge of HHS’ mission to protect Americans’ health—not during a pandemic when our urgent focus is rightly on saving lives, or ever,” Hawley and Dannenfelser concluded.
As California attorney general, Becerra also joined a coalition of 23 other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case in support of the City of Philadelphia’s fight against a Catholic foster and adoption agency that wished to limit prospective clients to husband-and-wife married couples based on its religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court is expected to announce its ruling in that case—Fulton v. City of Philadelphia—this summer.