If he wins, Joe Biden is expected to announce California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, an “aggressively pro-abortion” Democrat who wants to force nuns to pay for abortions, as his choice for secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) this week.
Though Becerra, like Biden, claims to be Catholic, his record involving unborn babies and those who work to protect them is terrible. As head of HHS, Becerra would have even more power to advance a radical anti-life agenda, including expanding late-term abortions on babies capable of feeling pain and forcing taxpayers to pay for their deaths.
Becerra’s record as a former congressman and attorney general do not bode well for the future of religious freedom, free speech or unborn babies’ right to life.
For years, his office has been fighting against a religious exemption from Obamacare that President Donald Trump put in place to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor, a charity of nuns that serves the poor and elderly.
Becerra’s nomination to HHS chief also means he would be able to continue his war on nuns. Despite winning at the Supreme Court in 2016 over a provision in the Affordable Care Act that would force the Catholic organization to offer contraception in health-care plans to celibate nuns, and that the mandate ignores that some forms of contraception act as abortifacients, the Little Sisters of the Poor are still in court thanks to Becerra and the state of California. They are suing in federal court to remove the nuns’ religious exemption.
One of the lawyers for the Little Sisters, Mark Rienzi, president of Becket, characterized Becerra’s actions as “petty governments harassing nuns.”
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“Governments don’t need nuns to distribute contraceptives,” Rienzi said in June. “But they do need religious groups to care for the elderly, heal the sick and feed the hungry. These governments all have real work they ought to be doing rather than dividing people with old and unnecessary culture wars.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters’ case in June, but Biden said he would reverse Trump’s religious freedom rule and force the Little Sisters, Hobby Lobby and other religious employers to pay for abortifacients for their employees.
Becerra’s pro-abortion politics hurt pregnancy resource centers and the mothers and babies who depend on them as well. In 2018, he defended a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs advertising abortions; however, he lost at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote the opinion for the 5-4 majority, slammed the law as a violation of the First Amendment.
“The licensed notice is a content-based regulation. By compelling petitioners to speak a particular message, it ‘alters the content of [their] speech,’” Thomas wrote. “… the people lose when the government is the one deciding which ideas should prevail…. This Court’s precedents are deeply skeptical of laws that ‘distinguis[h] among different speakers, allowing speech by some but not others.’”
If the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of Becerra, pro-life pregnancy centers either would have been forced to advertise abortions or pay crippling fines for their refusal to comply with the mandate.
As attorney general, Becerra also challenged a Trump rule that defunded Planned Parenthood of about $60 million in Title X funds and, notoriously, took up the prosecution of pro-life journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt who exposed Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts trade.
Years earlier, while serving in Congress, Becerra had a 100-percent pro-abortion voting record from Planned Parenthood and NARAL, PJ Media reports. His actions included voting against a ban on partial-birth abortion and for taxpayer-funded abortions.
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser described Becerra as “aggressively pro-abortion and a foe of free speech.” And PJ Media writer Tyler O’Neil pointed out that Biden’s choice contradicts his message of unity and restoration.
“Joe Biden campaigned on a platform to ‘restore the soul of America,’ but he has doubled down on the country’s partisan divisions. Nominating a Planned Parenthood lackey like Becerra to HHS throws gasoline on the fires of the culture war,” O’Neil wrote.
Becerra’s and Biden’s radical positions are vastly out of touch with most Americans. National polling consistently shows Americans — including people who are “pro-choice” on abortion — oppose late-term abortions and do not want their tax dollars to pay for them.