For Immediate Release: Monday, December 7, 2020
Washington, DC — On Monday, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he intends to nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“The people of the United States deserve a secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services who will center science and facts—and Attorney General Xavier Becerra is exactly that leader. We applaud President-elect Biden’s selection for this critical position. Becerra is committed to safeguarding and advancing reproductive freedom. Having spent his career in public office fighting for dignity and justice, we know that Attorney General Becerra is a compassionate leader who will put Americans’ health and well-being first. He understands that every body should be free to make their own decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures and can finally begin to undo the Trump administration’s work to turn back the clock on generations of hard-fought progress.”
Becerra has demonstrated his commitment to fighting for women and families time and again as California’s attorney general. He has been a champion for protecting access to healthcare, including access to abortion care. He went to bat for the Affordable Care Act and led a coalition of states defending the crucial Title X Family Planning program in court against the Trump administration’s attacks. He challenged the Trump administration’s efforts to encourage denials of healthcare. Becerra also demonstrated his support for reproductive freedom while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he voted to expand access to abortion by lifting insurance coverage bans, against multiple abortion bans and restrictions, and opposed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
As we turn the page on four years of unyielding attacks on reproductive freedom, it is more important than ever that we have cabinet officials ready to undo the damage of their predecessors. If confirmed, Attorney General Xavier Becerra will have the opportunity to roll back many of the regressive policies implemented by Trump-appointed HHS Secretaries Tom Price and Alex Azar.
Over the past four years, HHS has been weaponized by anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ zealots who used their positions to rubber-stamp discrimination. Alex Azar, who referred to his agency as the “Department of Life” in a statement at last year’s anti-choice March for Life, has worked tirelessly to undermine reproductive freedom, attack access to abortion and contraception, and block access to healthcare for LGBTQ patients.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.