In response to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Becerra committed to reviewing the Title X family planning program-an act that is expected to roll back the Trump administration's requirements that recipients not refer for abortions or be co-located with abortion facilities.
Planned Parenthood withdrew from the program in 2019 due to the prohibitions. President Biden pledged to repeal the requirements and, in a recent order, instructed the health secretary to review the program-the first administrative step toward repealing the requirements.
Planned Parenthood Action has also pushed for Becerra's confirmation, calling it "a big deal."
Becerra also would not commit to not re-imposing the contraceptive mandate on the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Supreme Court last July sided with the sisters in their defense of their religious exemption to the mandate. Biden has said he would repeal that exemption.
"I strongly believe women should not be put through unnecessary hurdles to access to health care," Becerra said when asked by Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) if he would commit to keeping the exemption in place.
In written questions, submitted for the record, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) noted that Becerra's positions on "late-term abortion, life, conscience protections, and overreaching government policies that infringe on religious freedoms have raised significant concerns among many South Carolinians."
Becerra, in response, cited his Catholic faith as a defense of his record.
"As a person of faith, I believe deeply in religious freedom," he said. "I was raised in a Catholic home, and we would get up early on Sunday mornings to go to mass."
He also would not directly answer questions on the transgender issue.
When asked if his agency would "ensure that children are not subjected to experimental hormone therapy," and if he believed that "doctors and hospitals should have the right to refuse to participate in gender transition therapies and treatments due to medical, religious or moral convictions," Becerra said he would rely on the expertise of "doctors and scientists."
"I believe medical decisions should be left to individuals and their health providers," he said.
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Rachel Levine, a man identifying as a transgender woman, is currently under consideration to be nominated as assistant HHS secretary, and would serve under Becerra if both were to be confirmed.
Levine has previously stated support for hormone therapy for teenagers, provided that the individual, parents, doctor, and therapist all supported the procedure.
In response to a series of questions by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on conscience protections for doctors, religious freedom, the Hyde Amendment, and protections for infant survivors of abortions, Becerra simply said he would "follow the law" if confirmed.
Matt Hadro was the political editor at Catholic News Agency through October 2021. He previously worked as CNA senior D.C. correspondent and as a press secretary for U.S. Congressman Chris Smith.