Becerra: The Canary in the Coal Mine

January 21

Xavier Becerra, pictured with Hillary Clinton, is President Biden’s pick to head HHS. Known for his vendetta against pro-lifers, he’s been nominated to lead the agency that most deals with the issue of abortion. Ask your senators to oppose his nomination.


As the Biden era began yesterday, I was reminded of an old football maxim: “The quarterback gets too much credit and too much blame.” He’s the focal point, yes, but the outcome is determined by the whole team.

There’s a related maxim in politics – one that was drilled into my head as a 20-something working in D.C.: “Personnel is policy.” Who we elect is critical, but who that leader puts in positions of power makes an enormous difference in the outcome.

So as we heard President Biden give a speech that focused on unity – a welcome theme after all the anger and turmoil – the natural reaction was to wonder how long that refrain will last. A big hint came in the afternoon with his one-sided executive orders.

But the best clues as to how this new administration will play out are his picks for the Cabinet. And when it comes to the issues of life and religious freedom, all eyes first go to Health and Human Services (HHS).

HHS is a sprawling bureaucracy that now has the largest budget of any federal agency, and its jurisdiction covers many of the issues that Family Policy Alliance is most engaged in. During the Trump Administration, it was led by an extraordinary number of outstanding leaders who were committed to life, religious liberty and the centrality of the family.

But it appears that Joe Biden intends for HHS to do an abrupt U-turn, based on his choice of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead it.

Before he was AG of California, Becerra served in the U.S. House for 24 years. His record was staunchly pro-abortion, earning him a 100 percent rating from Planned Parenthood. He opposed all protections for the preborn, even up to the moment of birth. Even the liberal Vanity Fair magazine described him as a “strident supporter” of abortion rights.

Likewise, in his more than two decades in Congress, he got 100 percent marks from the leading LGBT lobbying group and from the anti-religious freedom ACLU.

Four years ago, he was chosen by Gov. Jerry Brown to succeed Kamala Harris as California Attorney General. In that powerful post, his extreme ideology ran rampant.

Becerra is the one responsible for rabidly prosecuting David Daleiden, whose undercover videos exposed Planned Parenthood’s alleged profiteering from harvesting and trafficking the organs of preborn children.

And he sued the Little Sisters of the Poor to force them to pay for services that directly violate their religious convictions. Now, he is litigating to remove their religious exemption in the state of California.

This nominee has no medical background. His passion and his experience are in the area of imposing his progressive social agenda, and he has been handpicked for the very agency that touches these issues the most.

We need more unity in America, to be sure. But nominations like this will not, and must not, bring unity.

If you agree that Xavier Becerra is the wrong choice to lead HHS, please make your voice heard to your two U.S. senators, who will soon consider his confirmation. It only takes a minute on our Action Center.

Then please do one more thing: spread the word. Every American who cares about protecting life and religious freedom needs to know and needs to speak up.

John Paulton
Mobilization Manager