What do you know, the hyperpartisan and super pro-abortion Health & Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, is ignorant on federal law which prohibits the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion, a procedure which entailed partially delivering a baby, and then either crushing the skull or removing the brain. Not only that, but he used this denial to double down on his extreme pro-abortion stance. The method was banned when President George W. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 into law, and it was upheld in the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court case of Gonzales v. Carhart. Not only was it passed and upheld around 15 years ago, but Becerra was in Congress at the time and voted against the ban.
Sec. Becerra appeared before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday, where he was asked by multiple members of the committee about this federal ban, and each time he stuck to his disturbing response.
??HHS @SecBecerra just REFUSED to acknowledge our nation's legal ban on partial-birth abortion (18 U.S. Code § 1531). As we've feared all along, @SecBecerra is brazenly ignoring the law of the land. ?? pic.twitter.com/2sV7jjSH2U— John Joyce (@RepJohnJoyce) May 12, 2021
One of those members, Rep. John Joyce (R-PA), spoke with Townhall about Becerra's appearance before the committee.
The congressman, who is also a doctor, echoed such concern about Becerra, saying "I think absolutely concerns should be heightened." Rep. Joyce was also eager to point out the relevant statue to Townhall readers, 18 U.S. Code § 1531. He stressed it is "literally prohibited, by name, in statue."
Becerra claimed: "There is no law that deals specifically with the term Partial-Birth Abortion."— Susan B. Anthony List (@SBAList) May 12, 2021
But that’s exactly what U.S. Code § 1531 does:
Read the law: https://t.co/SnIMotOrQl pic.twitter.com/WzEGPApbI0
Sec. Becerra doubled down on his point, which included taking issue with "partial-birth" not being considered a medical term. Regardless of what you call it, though, that doesn't make the procedure any more inhumane. But then he then turned already existing federal law on his head to advocate for his pro-abortion "but women's rights!" argument:
But what I am saying to you is that under the law a physician or any provider of healthcare must make sure that he or she, it abides by the law and right now what our law says is that a woman is entitled to reproductive rights. And so my question is not so much with the term 'partial-birth abortion,' it's with what the rights are of a woman, under our statues and under our precedents to provide her with reproductive care that she's entitled to. And as my wife would tell you, as an OB-GYN is, that the dilation and extraction procedure that is often used, late-stage abortions, for women, it's to protect the life and health of that woman.
It cannot be underscored enough that the secretary refers to the procedure in the present-tense. Does he know of anyone who is currently performing the partial-birth abortion procedure? If so, that means the HHS Secretary knows someone who is violating federal law.
Research also shows that most late-term abortions are performed on healthy women with healthy babies, and are done for socio-economic reasons.
When given ample opportunity to clarify, Sec. Becerra doubled down on this falsehood about federal law, which has been federal law for 18 years, and has been recognized as such by the U.S. Supreme Court for 14 years:
Congressman, as I said, I recognize that the law provides women with reproductive rights and that the Roe v. Wade decision made very clear under what circumstances women can exercise those rights. I will do everything I can to make sure we comply with precedent and the law when it comes to protecting a woman's right to her reproductive health.
It's worth noting that women are still "entitled" to abortion in the United States, which is one of the most permissive countries on abortion in the world. There just happens to be regulations and restrictions, which includes a restriction on this particular method.
The best we can say about Sec. Becerra is that he's ignorant on Supreme Court cases, which is unfortunate since he filed 110 lawsuits against the Trump administration when he served as the Attorney General of California. More likely though is that he's only acknowledging and standing by a select amount of cases, the ones he agrees with.
During his time to ask Sec. Becerra questions, and in our conversation, Rep. Joyce was clear on how grave this is. He noted it "really confirmed what we've all known and feared, under Joe Biden's leadership, his health officials are refusing to acknowledge the law of the land." The congressman, who also shared that he has participated in the March for Life with friends, neighbors, and constituents, including when President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to do so, acknowledged that "under the Biden administration, the pro-life movement is facing unprecedented opposition."
The point Rep. Joyce doubled down on is that "everyone needs to know this, and that's why our line of questioning went the way that it did."
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) is another member who asked Becerra about the federal law, during which the secretary claimed there is no such law. No wonder Rep. Joyce felt the need to so emphatically emphasize the statute, in his conversation with Townhall, as well as when Becerra was before the committee.
.@SecBecerra told me under oath that he would follow the law on partial birth abortion.— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) May 12, 2021
Now, he’s denying the law banning these barbaric partial birth abortions even exists. This is shameful. https://t.co/jcV7fvjGWw
During his confirmation hearing, when pressed by senators such as Mitt Romney (R-UT) about partial-birth abortion, Becerra gave no indication that he actually denied federal law existed, merely that he disagreed it.
I thought I'd be hard pressed to be more worried than I am about Sec. Becerra's role as the HHS Secretary. During his confirmation hearing, he was prone to repeating that he would enforce federal law. It's not that I had much hope in a man who has used his position of power to bully people--including and especially pro-lifers-- would uphold pro-life laws, but here is proof he is shamelessly disregarding what he has a duty to uphold. We have our answer then about how he feels about federal law on abortion. For how how can Becerra uphold such a law when, in his mind, it doesn't even exist?