President Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, did not identify any restrictions on abortion that he might support, when asked to do so during a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Becerra, who currently serves as attorney general for the state of California, has come under criticism from Republicans for past litigation in support of pro-abortion policies. As a California representative in the House in 2000, Becerra voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion that was later passed into law.
Senator Steve Daines (R., Mont.) pressed Becerra during the hearing, “could you name one abortion restriction that you might support?”
Becerra didn’t name a restriction, and Daines repeated his question
“To be clear, is there any line you would draw? Is there just one restriction that relates to abortion that you might support?” Daines asked.
Becerra again did not identify a restriction he would support, and Daines then asked if he would back a ban on the “lethal discrimination” against babies with Down Syndrome. When Becerra demurred, Daines asked if he would support a ban on “sex-selective abortion,” where a parent decides to have an abortion based on the sex of the fetus.
“I respect those who take a particular view; my job will be to make sure that I’m following the law,” Becerra responded.
“Yes or no—would you support a ban on partial-birth abortion?” Daines asked.
“Again senator, you’re asking questions which will touch on aspects that I know have different views. What I can say is that I will make sure I am respecting the law on those issues,” Becerra said.
It is unclear if Becerra’s nomination will be confirmed on the Senate floor.