“I think we can find some common ground on these issues, because everyone wants to make sure that, if you have an opportunity, you’re going to live a healthy life,” Becerra said in response to a question by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah); the senator had asked why Becerra, as a congressman, voted against a partial-birth abortion ban.
“I think we can reach common ground on many issues. But on partial-birth abortion, it sounds like we’re not going to reach common ground there,” Romney said in response.
Becerra, President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), also said on Tuesday that he would “follow the law” on federal funding of abortion, as health secretary.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) noted Becerra’s “very extreme” record on abortion, and asked him to commit “to not using taxpayer money to fund abortions and abortion providers.”
Becerra did not commit to that, but simply made a promise to “definitely follow the law when it comes to the use of federal resources,” and noted that “we probably will not agree on all the issues.”
Although the Hyde Amendment has traditionally banned the use of federal dollars for elective abortions, President Biden has supported the repeal of the policy, and the White House has not guaranteed that an upcoming COVID relief bill would not include abortion funding.
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Other Democratic congressional leaders have also said they intend to not include the policy in appropriations bills this year; the Hyde Amendment is enacted each year as a rider to budget bills, specifying that the appropriations cannot be used for elective abortions.
Pro-life groups criticized Becerra for his answers on abortion.
His answer on partial-birth abortion should “disqualify” him from the position, tweeted Democrats for Life of America. “He is far too radical to run this department. There are better choices,” the group stated.