For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing on the confirmation of Xavier Becerra, President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Tomorrow, the Senate Finance Committee will hold its hearing on Becerra’s confirmation. Becerra, a longtime champion for reproductive rights, served as Attorney General for California and in the U.S. House of Representatives.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“For four long years, the Trump administration weaponized the Department of Health and Human Services to advance an out-of-touch ideological agenda that turned a blind eye to science and endangered public health. Unsurprisingly, anti-choice Republicans continue to spread disinformation and wage a bad-faith attack on Becerra. But this new political chapter calls for leadership at all levels that is ready to meet this moment of crisis by centering science and facts, embracing the expertise of medical and health authorities, and prioritizing public health above all else. Xavier Becerra is that leader. He understands the importance of ensuring that every body is free to make their own decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures. The Senate must confirm Xavier Becerra as swiftly as possible.”
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. Becerra also demonstrated his support for reproductive freedom while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he voted to protect access to abortion by opposing insurance coverage bans, voted against multiple abortion bans and restrictions, and opposed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
The American Medical Association, the largest association of physicians and medical students in the U.S. dedicated to promoting “the art of science and medicine and the betterment of public health,” “strongly supports” Becerra’s nomination.
Under the Trump administration, HHS was weaponized by anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ zealots who used their positions to rubber-stamp discrimination. Former HHS secretary Alex Azar, who referred to his agency as the “Department of Life” in a statement at last year’s anti-choice March for Life, 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.