HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra has refused this week to say that partial birth abortion is illegal in this country.
Becerra denied last month that there was a law banning partial birth abortions, supposedly forgetting the law that he voted against. His denial led to a backlash from pro-life advocates and Republican lawmakers and caused numerous senators to challenge him concerning the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act this week.
During this week’s hearing, Republican Montana Senator Steve Daines queried Becerra several times about if partial birth abortion was illegal. Becerra repeatedly did not address the issue or acknowledge that such a procedure is illegal and stressed that Roe v. Wade is the current law.
The Partial Birth Abortion Act was passed through Congress in 2003, was enacted by President Bush, and was then upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
The law says that partial birth abortion is any “abortion in which a doctor intentionally vaginally delivers a living child’s body until the baby’s head is outside the mother’s body.”
Daines asked Becerra several times, “Is it illegal?”
The law is the law—partial birth abortions ARE illegal.
— Steve Daines (@SteveDaines) June 10, 2021
“What I can say is that women under Roe v. Wade,” Becerra started, before Daines interrupted, asking, “Is partial birth abortion illegal or not?”
“Senator, we will get into a technical discussion,” Becerra said, but Daines interjected, “It is not a technical thing, it is just a question. Is it illegal or legal?”
“A woman has a right to an abortion,” the secretary started again, and Daines stopped him again to ask, “So you are claiming it is legal? Partial birth abortions?”
When Becerra started to discuss abortion rights again, Daines reminded him of the 2003 law about partial birth abortions.
“Do you agree with it?” Daines said.
Xavier Becerra is wrong.
Abortion is not healthcare. pic.twitter.com/ArYlFUONQh
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) June 10, 2021
“Senator, I can talk to you about the legal cases that have come from particular statutes, but what it is probably better to say is that a woman has a right to exercise reproductive choice.”
“We would never break laws,” he added.
Daines then asked Becerra for a final time if partial birth abortion was illegal or legal, to which he replied, “Senator, I will direct you to the court decisions about the particular statues if you like, and that is why I continue to repeat this to you is that what is the law is Roe v. Wade, the right of a woman to receive reproductive health care services.”
Author: Steven Sinclaire