President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra refused to acknowledge partial-birth abortion was illegal under federal law before lawmakers Thursday.
“You were asked a question about is partial-birth abortion illegal,” began Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines. “Is it illegal?”
Becerra dodged the question with a non-answer, instead pointing to the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade which has kept legal avenues open for abortion ever since.
The law is the law—partial birth abortions ARE illegal.
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) June 10, 2021
“What I can tell you is that women under this country under Roe v. Wade,” Becerra said before being cut off by Daines seeking an answer which never came.
“Is partial-birth abortion legal or illegal in the United States,” Daines pressed.
Becerra tried to evade claiming Daines was engaging in a “technical discussion.”
“It’s not a technical discussion, it’s a question pretty simple. Is it legal or illegal?” Daines asked.
“A woman has the right to receive an abortion,” Becerra said.
After another 60-seconds of back-and-forth on the issue, Becerra never acknowledged partial-birth abortion was illegal.
Such procedures were outlawed in the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act passed in 2003. The Supreme Court upheld the law four years later, in the 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart.
Becerra, among Biden’s most radical nominees in the new administration, was confirmed by the Senate in March by a slim 50-49 vote. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to cast a vote in favor of the former California attorney general’s confirmation to lead the nation’s chief agency on public health.
Becerra, nominated with one of the most pro-abortion track records of Biden’s cabinet picks, dodged questions on the issue of partial-birth abortions during his confirmation hearing in February when Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney pressed the HHS nominee on prior support for the outlawed procedure.
.@SenatorRomney: "You voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. Why?"
Becerra: "I understand that people have different deeply held beliefs on this issue….We may not always agree on where to go, but I think we can find some common ground." pic.twitter.com/kGgGv33xCo
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) February 23, 2021
“You voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion. Why?” Romney asked.
Becerra declined a real answer.
“I understand that people have different deeply held beliefs on this issue. … We may not always agree on where to go, but I think we can find some common ground,” Becerra said.