Two major fact checkers have joined pro-life advocates in slamming HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra for making false statements about partial-birth abortion.
Becerra drew wide-spread criticism from pro-life and conservative leaders last week when he denied multiple times that U.S. law bans partial-birth abortions. He made the claim during a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on May 12.
The fact checkers also suggested that Becerra, a lawyer and former congressman, should know better because he personally voted against the law in 2003.
The Bee summarized its fact check this way:
Claim: Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said last week “There is no law that deals specifically with the term ‘partial birth abortion.’”
Rating: False. There is such a law, and it uses the term “partial birth abortion.”
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PolitiFact similarly rated Becerra’s statement “false,” writing: “Congress passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003, and the Supreme Court upheld it in 2007. Becerra himself voted against the law when it came up in the House.”
During the May 12 hearing, Becerra repeatedly dodged questions from lawmakers about the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.
When U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Florida, asked the HHS secretary if he agrees “that partial-birth abortion is illegal,” Becerra said he would follow the “very clearly settled precedent” of Roe v. Wade.
“… a woman has a right to make decisions about her reproductive health,” Becerra said, according to the Bee. He also argued that “there is no medical term like partial-birth abortion.”
When Bilirakis asked again about the law, Becerra responded, “There is no law that deals specifically with the term partial-birth abortion.”
Later, U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-Pennsylvania, a medical doctor, also asked the HHS secretary about partial-birth abortion, according to the report.
“What I’m trying to explain is that the term partial-birth abortion may be recognized in politics and by politicians, but it is not a medically recognized term,” Becerra answered.
Joyce responded, “As a physician myself, Mr. Secretary, I think I clearly understand what a partial-birth abortion is.”
Indeed, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban clearly defines the gruesome act as: “an abortion in which a physician deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living, unborn child’s body until either the entire baby’s head is outside the body of the mother, or any part of the baby’s trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother and only the head remains inside the womb, for the purpose of performing an overt act (usually the puncturing of the back of the child’s skull and removing the baby’s brains) that the person knows will kill the partially delivered infant.”
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in Gonzales v. Carhart.
Dwight Duncan, a University of Massachusetts law professor, told PolitiFact, “I would say that Becerra was engaged in legalistic quibbling to avoid answering the question.”
Immediately after the hearing, pro-life leaders slammed Becerra’s comments as yet another indication of the Biden administration’s radical pro-abortion agenda.
“This shameless lie is standard for the most radical pro-abortion administration in history. It should not be hard to recognize that partially delivering a baby and then suctioning his or her brain is not only illegal, but utterly inhumane,” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser responded in a statement last week.