Xavier Becerra, who sued Trump over abortion access, asked about goals as Biden’s HHS choice

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Xavier Becerra now faces questions about his goals as President Joe bidencandidate for the post of health secretary after suing the former president Donald trump on access to abortion.

On Wednesday, Becerra’s appointment will be put to a vote in the Senate Finance Committee.

Becerra is currently California Attorney General and has continued to champion the state’s liberal abortion policies, which has raised concerns from Republicans and activist groups opposed to abortion.

During a recent interrogation of Becerra, Republican Senator Jon Thune said: “It appears that as Attorney General you have spent a tremendous amount of time and effort prosecuting pro-life organizations. If this is confirmed How do we make sure? Because I think the majority of Americans wouldn’t want their Secretary of Health and Human Services to focus or fix on expanding abortion when we need to sort out all these health issues public. “

In response, Becerra said he understood the different beliefs of people across the country about abortion, but noted that “it is my job to defend the rights of my state.”

While serving as California attorney general in 2017, Becerra sued the Trump administration over its abortion restrictions and filed at least 100 other lawsuits against the former president.

Xavier Becerra, candidate for Secretary of Health and Human Services, answers questions during his Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing on February 24, 2021 at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Greg Nash / Getty

For more information on The Associated Press, see below.

Nationally, the issue of abortion appears to be evolving. Lawmakers in 19 state legislatures have introduced nearly 50 bills this year to ban most or all abortions, according to the non-partisan Guttmacher institute. In South Carolina, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed a measure banning most abortions, though it was almost immediately suspended by a federal judge.

Abortion opponents hope the litigation over a state law will reach the short Supreme, now clearly leaning to the right. This could serve as a vehicle to overturn the Roe v. Decision. Wade, who legalized abortion. Yet despite the renewed activity of the state, the underlying political reality is delicate.

In the 2020 election, about 6 in 10 voters said abortion should be legal in most or all cases, according to VoteCast, an in-depth survey of the U.S. electorate conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago to the Associated Press. About the same percentage of Republicans said abortion should generally be legal, according to the survey.

Becerra, 63, was a trusted Democratic vote for abortion rights for more than 20 years, representing a Los Angeles-area district in the United States House. But it was not a dominant voice. Its problems were immigration, access to health care and education.

His legal advocacy has grated opponents of abortion. “What I see is he gets involved in far too many abortion cases,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America. “He was just part of his foundation. Yes, the laws were bad in California, but he has an abortion program.”

Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Has accused some Republican senators of ignoring the coronavirus pandemic “to peddle deceptive or clearly bogus attacks on Attorney General Becerra’s case defending access to reproductive health care. “

There doesn’t seem to be much room for dialogue. “It’s really hard to see where he’s going to find, or be ready to find, common ground with the pro-lifers,” Carol Tobias, chair of the National Right to Life Committee, said of Becerra.

Senator Steve Daines, R-Mont., Told Becerra that “I am seriously concerned about the radical views you have taken in the past on the issue of abortion.” And Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Accused Becerra of “aiming for religious freedom” when he sued the Trump administration for its rules giving employers with religious or moral objections more leeway not to cover the birth control.

One wonders how far the Biden administration will manage to expand access to abortion. Democrats in Congress do not appear to have the votes to overturn the Hyde Amendment, the term for a series of federal laws that prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save a woman’s life . Biden, who has supported Hyde’s restrictions throughout his congressional career, has reversed his position as a presidential candidate. Becerra told senators he would follow the law.

Opponents of abortion rights say they do not trust Becerra. “He has recognized himself as an abortion absolutist – that’s just who he is,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which supports women seeking office against abortion.

But Becerra received the support of a prominent Catholic, Sister Carol Keehan, retired director of the Catholic Health Association of the United States. She disagrees with her support for abortion rights, but finds common ground elsewhere.

“He is committed to making sure that people have the opportunity to access health care in this country,” Keehan said. “I believe the way you reduce abortion is to give people decent health care.”

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