Scholar Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), said that Becerra is an “ideological culture warrior” who would only serve to heighten current political polarization.
Roger Severino, former head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights and senior fellow at EPPC, said that Becerra’s confirmation to lead the agency would be an “astounding conflict of interest”—given that Severino’s office twice found Becerra’s in violation of federal conscience laws.
In Jan., 2020, Severino’s office determined that California had violated federal law in forcing Catholic and pro-life groups to cover abortions in their health plans. After the office gave Becerra 30 days to comply with federal conscience protections, Becerra refused.
In December, the Trump administration announced that HHS would withhold $200 million in Medicaid funds to California, for refusing to comply with the law. Severino’s office in 2019 also found that Becerra previously had violated the law in forcing California pregnancy centers to advertise for abortions.
Becerra “wants to impose California’s COVID-19 failures and abortion extremism on the rest of the nation,” Severino said on Thursday.
A coalition of conservative groups—including CatholicVote and the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List—are launching a media and grassroots campaign against Becerra’s confirmation as well as Vanita Gupta’s confirmation as associate attorney general.
“The choice of Becerra for HHS was a total 180 from the talk of ‘unity’ surrounding the inauguration,” stated Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List. “He’s as extreme as they come on abortion.”
(Story cotinues below)
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On Wednesday, the chair of the Senate Pro-Life Caucus said Becerra was “radical” in using the power of the state to prosecute pro-life groups.
Throughout his career in California, Becerra has been “attacking” pro-life nuns and pro-life crisis pregnancy clinics “with radical, radical efforts,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) said at an online panel opposing Becerra’s confirmation.
Becerra’s previous opposition to laws protecting infant survivors of abortion—while he was a congressman—“is just chilling for all of us,” Daines said, “but that is who will lead the HHS Department.”