Mary Margaret Olohan
- The Senate voted Thursday to confirm California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as health and human services secretary.
- Pro-life lawmakers and activists condemned the confirmation, warning that Becerra is both “a culture warrior” and an “extreme left-wing ideologue.”
- “Given his record of aggressive hostility to free speech, health care freedom, and the traditional values of marriage, family, and the sanctity of life, Americans must be prepared for what is coming,” said Catholic Vote President Brian Burch.
Pro-life lawmakers and activists condemned news Thursday that the senate confirmed California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to serve as health and human services secretary, warning that Becerra is both “a culture warrior” and an “extreme left-wing ideologue.”
“Becerra is a culture warrior who made his name in bloody-knuckled politics by bullying nuns,” Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said Thursday, referring to Becerra’s battles with the Little Sisters of the Poor over an Obama-era contraception mandate.
The Nebraska senator added that Health and Human Services (HHS) should be focused on health during the pandemic — not Becerra’s progressive priorities.
Becerra faced strong opposition from pro-life activists, faith leaders, and Republican lawmakers, who previously warned that the California attorney general is “an extreme political activist” and “an enemy to every pro-life policy and law.” Despite this opposition, the senate confirmed the California attorney general as HHS secretary on Thursday, making him the nation’s first Latino to lead HHS.
Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton similarly condemned Becerra’s confirmation, saying in a Thursday statement: “Becerra is an unrepentant advocate of California-style lockdowns, socialized medicine, and abortion on demand. His confirmation will damage the country.”
I’m honored and humbled by today’s vote in the Senate. Thank you. I’m ready to get to work at @HHSgov.— Xavier Becerra (@XavierBecerra) March 18, 2021
Catholic Vote President Brian Burch called Becerra a “culture warrior” and an “extreme left-wing ideologue.”
“Xavier Becerra’s confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services poses a clear and present danger for Catholics and all people of faith,” Burch said in a statement. “Given his record of aggressive hostility to free speech, health care freedom, and the traditional values of marriage, family, and the sanctity of life, Americans must be prepared for what is coming.”
Becerra “has repeatedly trampled on our most fundamental constitutional rights,” Burch said. “We can only assume Becerra’s clear contempt for religious freedom will continue in his new role.”
Becerra repeatedly said during his confirmation hearings that he would follow the law in response to questions from Republican senators about abortion policy, evading questions on his support for partial birth abortion and tax payer funding of abortions.
Responding to a question from Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney on partial birth abortion, Becerra said: “I have worked, as I have mentioned, for decades trying to protect the health of men and women, young and old, and as attorney general, my job has been to follow the law and make sure others are following the law.”
The nominee similarly responded to a question from Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun on taxpayer funding of abortion by saying, “I can say to you that we will follow the law when it comes to the use of federal resources. There I can make that commitment that we will follow the law.”
Becerra also won Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s vital vote by promising to “uphold the law” on the Hyde Amendment.
Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines, founder of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus, promised to counteract Becerra’s potential pro-abortion actions from HHS
“Xavier Becerra has made a career out of defending the abortion industry and promoting far-left priorities like free healthcare for illegal immigrants,” Daines said Thursday. “He has shown that he will take this agenda so far as to infringe on religious freedoms.”
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and National Right to Life president Carol Tobias also highlighted that Becerra is “deeply out of step” with Americans on abortion.
“The Biden-Harris administration has dropped all semblance of the ‘unity’ they once promised. To carry out the Administration’s extreme abortion goals, Senate Democrats have pushed through Xavier Becerra to lead the federal agency at the center of determining abortion policy,” Dannenfelser said in a statement.
Tobias called Becerra “unqualified” to lead HHS, adding that he has “no health care experience but plenty of abortion advocacy.”
“HHS plays a critical role in the distribution of the COVID vaccines and the production of those vaccines,” Tobias continued. “Becerra’s lack of healthcare experience clearly disqualifies him from leading the nation’s healthcare agency.”
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