Health Secretary Still Denies Federal Law Banning Partial-Birth Abortion

Jun 12, 2021 by

by Rebecca Downs, Townhall:

Last month, Townhall highlighted the fact that Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra denied the existence of federal law when it comes to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Carthart in 2007. Becerra has not only denied its existence multiple times before, he did so again, while before the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

The exchange took place between Becerra and Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), the founder and chair of the Senate’s Pro-Life Caucus:

Daines: Is partial-birth abortion illegal? That’s a question. Is it illegal?

Becerra: What I can tell you is that women in this country, under Roe v. Wade–

Daines: Is partial-birth abortion legal or illegal in the United States?

Becerra: Senator, again, we’re going to get into this technical discussion.

Daines: No, it’s not a technical discussion. It’s a question, it’s pretty simple. Is it legal or illegal?

Becerra: A woman has a right to receive abortion care.

Daines: So are you saying it’s legal? A partial-birth abortion?

Becerra: What I can tell you without question is that a woman has a right to exercise–

Daines: As the Secretary of HHS, I would hope that you understand that Title 18 of the U.S. Code, § 1513, signed into law in 2003, states that partial-birth abortion is illegal. Do you agree with that?

Becerra: Senator, I can talk to you about the legal cases that have arisen as a result of that particular statute, but it’s probably again better to say to you that a woman in this country has a right to exercise reproductive choice and we will defend that–

Daines: That doesn’t mean breaking the law, which the code is very clear.

Becerra: We will never break the law.


Daines: So the question is is partial-birth abortion legal or illegal. It’s not a trick question or a complicated question.

Becerra: Senator, I’ll direct you then to the decisions the courts have issued with regard to that particular statute if you’d like, and that’s why I continue to repeat to you, that what is the law is the right of a woman under Roe v. Wade to receive reproductive health care services.

Not only was Becerra in office as a U.S. Representative for California when the bill was signed into law, which he voted against, he also was in office when the Supreme Court upheld the law.

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