Xavier Becerra was confirmed as the Sec. of Health & Human Services by the U.S. Senate last Thursday, in a 50-49 vote. He was a particularly worrisome and controversial pick, especially to the pro-life movement.
That night, during a phone call with supporters, Jeanne Mancini, the President of March for Life, warned of "massive" influence from HHS, and that the department is "where policy decisions are made." For instance, it is under HHS' jurisdiction to analyze what's included in ObamaCare.
Also on March 18, the same day that Sec. Becerra was confirmed, the "Office of Population Affairs Statement on Proposed Revision of Title X Regulations" was released. Coincidence? I think not. The statement reads:
On January 28, 2021, President Biden issued a “Memorandum on Protecting Women’s Health at Home and Abroad,” directing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to review the 2019 Title X Final Rule and “consider, as soon as practicable, whether to suspend, revise, or rescind, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules suspending, revising, or rescinding, those regulations, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act.”1 HHS conducted an extensive review and consideration of the 2019 Title X Final Rule (84 Fed. Reg. 7714) pursuant to this Presidential memorandum. The memorandum specifically directed HHS to ensure that undue restrictions are not put on the use of federal funds or on women’s access to medical information.
After reviewing the 2019 rule, HHS plans to propose revised regulations substantively similar to those issued in 2000 (65 Fed. Reg. 41270), under which the program operated successfully for years, with a few definitional updates that account for minor operational changes over the past 20 years. HHS is working on promulgating a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), and it expects to have this NPRM published in the Federal Register no later than April 15, 2021. HHS will review and carefully consider all comments submitted in response to this NPRM and plans to have any Title X Final Rule in place by early fall and effective in time for the Fiscal Year 2022 funding announcement, which is expected to be issued in December 2021.
Under the Clinton administration rule from 2000 to be restored, family plannings clinics which were Title X grant recipients had to counsel or refer for abortions when requested.
The referenced rule is also known as the Protect Life Rule from 2019, which denied Title X funding to family planning clinics which performed or referred for abortions. This namely applied to Planned Parenthood, which was offered funding if they ceased their abortion business, but Planned Parenthood refused. Challenging the rule was one those many lawsuits Becerra led against the Trump administration. What do you know? It looks like Becerra will no longer have to worry about that.
The choice of Becerra was criticized because of his lack of medical experience, though not merely because of that. As I've written before, "If there’s anything we can say about Attorney General Becerra’s healthcare experience, it’s that if you dare to disagree with him on what constitutes women’s “healthcare,” you can expect to be sued" by this relentless bully, the extremely pro-abortion co-chair of Catholics for Biden, who targets pro-lifers.
It's hard to do a quick summary with the track record the fierce litigator has, but I'll try. As attorney general of California, Becerra sued the Trump administration over 110 times, including over conscience protections granted to Little Sisters of the Poor, so that the Catholic nuns would not have to provide or refer for contraception. He also led a lawsuit to prevent FDA safety regulations for chemical abortions from going into place during the pandemic caused by the Wuhan coronavirus.
It's all worthwhile to discuss that as a congressman, Becerra voted against the partial-birth abortion ban of 2003, which is now law; who had a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California; and who was one of the most partisan members of Congress.
There are other confirmed picks to watch out for. Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young, who is also serving as the Acting Director, Shalanda Young, was confirmed Tuesday in a 63-37 vote. She's known for her statements that "eliminating the Hyde Amendment," which prohibits federal taxpayer dollars from going towards elective abortions, "is a matter of economic and racial justice."
Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, confirmed to Townhall that these picks will "most definitely" be going after Hyde.
Most recently, Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed Thursday in a 52-48 vote as the Assistant Secretary of HHS. The first openly transgender person confirmed by the U.S. Senate not only supports children undergoing sex changes over gender dysphoria, but is likewise pro-abortion.