UPDATE: This morning, the Senate Finance Committee – on a tie vote – approved the nomination of Xavier Becerra to President Biden’s Cabinet – sending his nomination to the full Senate for a vote that could happen early next week.
When it comes to issues related to life and religious freedom, there is no more important Cabinet position than the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Unfortunately, Xavier Becerra, Biden’s nominee for this critical position, continues to turn heads in all the wrong ways.
We told you last month about Becerra’s stunning hostility to pro-life policies and groups – including suing Catholic nuns to impose pro-abortion policies.
But the jaw-dropping positions from Becerra just keep on coming. As our friends at California Family Council have revealed, Becerra holds that freedom of religion does not apply to churches and other religious organizations!
In his confirmation hearing for California Attorney General on January 10, 2017, he was asked about a California bill that would have forced religious universities to change their moral behavior codes and housing policies.
Becerra responded that there is no First Amendment protection for religious institutions, which would include not only religious schools but also churches:
“On religious protections, the protection for religion is for the individual. I think it is important to distinguish between protections that you are affording to the individual to exercise his or her religion freely, versus protections you are giving to some institution or entity who is essentially bootstrapping the First Amendment protections on behalf of somebody else.”
This extreme view regarding religious freedom is yet another reason that his nomination should be defeated in the U.S. Senate!
TAKE ACTION: 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 could vote on his nomination in just days! 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.
For Life and Religious Freedom,
“Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” I usually say “the bad news” when this question is asked of me. So, we’ll start there today – but remember, the good news follows!
The Biden Administration has enacted a jaw-dropping 39 executive orders since assuming office less than two weeks ago. Unfortunately, many of these orders are contrary to our most deeply held values, including the sanctity of human life—showing how out-of-step President Biden and his Administration are with how Americans view babies in the womb and their mothers.
Most notably, President Biden signed an executive order to rescind the Mexico City Policy and the Promoting Life in Global Health Policy, both of which prevented taxpayer dollars from funding international groups that provide or advocate for abortion.
Biden has also said he intends to reinstate Title X family planning dollars to abortion providers and scrap the decades-old Hyde Amendment which bars taxpayer dollars from funding domestic abortions. (This is especially disappointing after Biden supported the Hyde Amendment for his entire career, only reversing course in 2019 while campaigning for president.)
He has nominated a well-known pro-abortion advocate – who many say lacks administrative and health credentials – to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
And perhaps most concerning of all, on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade last Friday, President Biden stated his unequivocal commitment to codifying the so-called right to abortion in federal law.
As concerning as this declaration is (and his other pro-abortion actions are), President Biden’s statement ties to the good news of the current pro-life landscape – and that is, most notably – the states. With the Biden Administration moving quickly to promote pro-abortion policies, state legislatures appear energized to pass laws to protect preborn babies and their mothers. Here are just a few examples:
After significant pro-life gains in the Kansas elections last November, both chambers passed a constitutional amendment in January to affirm there is no right to abortion and the legislature can regulate the abortion industry. This is vitally important in Kansas where the state Supreme Court is poised to force unlimited abortion statewide. Now, the “Value Them Both” amendment will go before the people in Kansas as a ballot initiative in 2022.
The Kentucky legislature sent seven pro-life bills to Democrat Governor Andy Beshear this month. He vetoed six of them, but allowed one – a bill to protect infants born alive during abortions – to become law. This pro-life victory was a very welcome surprise to Kentuckians and all pro-life advocates.
In South Carolina, the Senate passed – and the House is expected to soon follow suit – a “heartbeat bill” to prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, at about six weeks gestation. If and when the bill becomes law, South Carolina will become the eleventh state with this pro-life protection.
Family Policy Alliance® is proud to be part of a national coalition to promote model state legislation to codify FDA safety regulations on the chemical abortion industry. Unfortunately, these important safeguards are now at risk of repeal by the Biden Administration. With chemical abortions on the rise – now comprising more than 40% of all U.S. abortions – and abortion-inducing drugs being four times more dangerous to women than surgical abortions, it is vital that states act quickly. Currently, four states – Arizona, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas – have introduced our coalition’s model legislation to help protect women and save innocent lives.
There are dozens of other pro-life bills moving in state legislatures around the country, as well as in the U.S. Congress.
At the federal level, bills include the Born Alive Infant Protection Act authored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) to protect babies born alive during abortions, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Act introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to ban abortions after 20 weeks, the Second Chance at Life Act introduced by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) to require abortion businesses provide information on the risks of – and reversibility of – chemical abortions, and the SAVE Moms and Babies Act authored by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) to safeguard FDA regulations on chemical abortion and prohibit dispensing abortion-inducing drugs remotely.
Pro-life members of Congress are also going on the defensive. Statesmen Academy alumnus Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) sent a letter signed by 200 representatives to House leadership last week pledging “to vote against any government funding bill that eliminates or weakens the Hyde Amendment or other current-law, pro-life appropriations provisions.” Even as Democrat leadership in Congress and the White House intend to reverse Hyde, this letter could have real consequences as a majority vote in Congress requires just 218 votes.
The members’ pledge also aligns with the current public opinion in America. The Knights of Columbus released a report last week that shows 58% of Americans oppose taxpayer funding of domestic abortions and even more (77%) are against paying for international abortions. At the same time, Students for Life of America published findings that more than 7 out of 10 Millennials and Gen Z support limits on abortion and nearly half support banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
As action in state legislatures, bills introduced by pro-life members of Congress, and public opinion bear out, the pro-life movement in America is alive and well! There is reason for encouragement even as we acknowledge the pro-abortion forces now at work in our nation. As we journey with you through the political and cultural realities of our time, Family Policy Alliance will keep you informed and equipped to make a difference in the fight for life, decency, faith, and truth. Stay tuned to our email updates and engage with us on Facebook and Twitter as we advocate for our shared values and seek to honor God in public policy and discourse.
Vice President for Strategy
|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.