More than 150 Republicans in Congress demanded answers from HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra this week after he refused to acknowledge a law that bans brutal partial-birth abortions on late-term, pain-capable unborn babies.
In a letter provided to LifeNews.com, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Washington, led lawmakers in asking Becerra to confirm that he will uphold and defend all U.S. laws, not just the ones that he likes.
“[Your] duty includes ensuring that existing legal protections for unborn children and conscience rights are properly enforced,” Rodgers wrote. “… although you have repeatedly committed to follow the law, you denied the existence of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 and then deflected questions about whether you would enforce it.”
They asked Becerra, who leads the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to reiterate in writing his commitment to enforcing U.S. law as he promised to do at his confirmation hearing.
The letter was prompted by statements the HHS secretary made during a U.S. House hearing in May. Becerra denied multiple times that U.S. law bans partial-birth abortions and refused to commit to enforcing the pro-life law.
When U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Florida, asked Becerra 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 later claimed, “There is no law that deals specifically with the term partial-birth abortion.”
U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-Pennsylvania, a medical doctor, also asked the HHS secretary about the partial-birth abortion ban.
“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.
However, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban clearly defines the gruesome act, which involves partially delivering a living unborn baby before killing it.
Fact checks by PolitiFact and The Sacramento Bee confirmed that Becerra’s denials were absolutely “false.” They also suggested that Becerra, a lawyer and former congressman, should know better because he personally voted against the law in 2003.
In their letter this week, the pro-life lawmakers expressed serious concerns about Becerra’s willingness to put his personal beliefs aside to do his job.
“Your refusal to, at first, acknowledge the existence of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, followed by your failure to commit to enforce it have cast doubt on your claims that you will follow the law,” they wrote.
They said Becerra’s personal beliefs about abortion do “not negate the existence of the law” and should not get in the way of the job that he promised to do as HHS secretary.
“Your responses have raised concern that, if you personally disagree with a law, you may choose to deny its existence,” the lawmakers wrote.
Rodgers, U.S. Reps. John Joyce, Dan Bishop, Gus Bilirakis, Dan Crenshaw and about 150 other lawmakers asked Becerra to assure the American people that he will enforce all laws, not just the ones he agrees with.
Becerra, a prosecutor and career politician, has no medical experience. His record includes trying to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions and force nuns who serve the poor to pay for contraception, including forms that may cause abortions.
The U.S. Senate very narrowly confirmed him as HHS secretary in March.
The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban prohibits abortions “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.