Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF
President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services Secretary falsely said Wednesday that there is “no law pertaining to partial-birth abortion.”
HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 as a congressman, but the legislation, sponsored by former Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, passed Congress and former President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2003. The Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional in 2007.
The legislation bans partial-birth abortions, which it defines as “an abortion in which a physician deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living, unborn child’s body until either the entire baby’s head is outside the body of the mother, or any part of the baby’s trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother and only the head remains inside the womb, for the purpose of performing an overt act (usually the puncturing of the back of the child’s skull and removing the baby’s brains) that the person knows will kill the partially delivered infant, performs this act, and then completes delivery of the dead infant–is a gruesome and inhumane procedure that is never medically necessary and should be prohibited.”
Yet on Wednesday, when asked by Republican Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis whether he believes that “partial-birth abortion is illegal,” Becerra responded that “partial-birth abortion” is not a medical term and then said that “there is no law” that specifically deals with partial-birth abortions.
“There is no medical term like partial-birth abortion, so I would probably have to ask you what you mean by that, to describe what is allowed by the law,” the HHS secretary said. “Roe v. Wade is very clear, settled precedent, a woman has a right to make decisions about her reproductive health, and we will make sure we enforce the law and protect these rights.”