Biden’s Bad Choice: Xavier Becerra

On December 6, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced that he intends to appoint California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

For two reasons, the HHS post is an important one. First, the HHS secretary will likely be a point person for the incoming administration’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Second, the Department of Health and Human Services plays a key role in setting and implementing abortion policy. On both counts, the selection of Attorney General Becerra is a grave error.

Attorney General Becerra spent more than two decades in the U.S. House of Representatives. An attorney and a politician, his health care-related resumé is limited at best. The New York Times noted that medical experts who support naming people with “medical or public health expertise to serve in health leadership positions” were “caught off guard — and unhappily so — by the news of Mr. Becerra’s selection.” Kenneth Craycraft of First Things was more blunt: “Becerra has no credentials or expertise in medicine, public health, or any other discipline related to health care services.”

While Becerra’s qualifications for the HHS post are dubious, his abortion extremism makes him a truly disastrous choice for the role. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. commented: “‘It would be hard to create, even in imagination, a nominee for this kind of position who would be of deeper concern, for anyone who’s pro-life or pro-marriage or pro-religious liberty, than Xavier Becerra.’” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted, “‘Xavier Becerra spent his career attacking pro-life Americans and tried to force crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortions I’ll be voting no, and Becerra should be rejected by the Senate.’” Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser has described Becerra as “‘aggressively pro-abortion’” and “‘a foe of free speech,’” while Isaac Schorr of National Review has labeled him an “abortion enthusiast” and Kenneth Craycraft has called him “Planned Parenthood’s errand boy.”

Becerra’s record on abortion and religious liberty includes the following:

  • Receiving perfect ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL during his 24 years in Congress;
  • Spearheading a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s Protect Life Rule;
  • Using the federal courts to harass the Little Sisters of the Poor due to their unwillingness to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees;
  • Leading “coalitions of blue states in conducting a series of efforts to expand abortion access”; and
  • Charging David Daleiden with 15 felonies for daring to uncover the truth about Planned Parenthood’s vile practice of trafficking in the organs and tissues of aborted babies.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms calls upon the U.S. Senate to reject this dangerous appointee. Sadly, the two U.S. senators from New York—Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand—are so confused and deceived that they will likely see Attorney General Becerra’s awful track record as a badge of distinction.