For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Washington, DC — Today, the Senate voted to confirm Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Born in Sacramento to Mexican immigrant parents, Becerra will be the first Latino to serve as HHS secretary.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“We are pleased that the Senate voted to confirm Xavier Becerra—a true champion for healthcare and reproductive freedom. Having spent his career in public office fighting for dignity and justice, we know that Becerra is a compassionate leader who will put Americans’ health and well-being first. We congratulate Secretary Becerra on his confirmation and look forward to working with the Department of Health and Human Services—and the entire Biden-Harris Administration—to advance reproductive freedom and ensure all people can access the care they need.”
NARAL Pro-Choice California Director Shannon Olivieri Hovis said:
“NARAL and our more than 295,000 members across California congratulate Secretary Becerra on his historic confirmation. Throughout his tenure as California Attorney General, he has led the charge to protect access to affordable healthcare and dismantle the innumerable barriers to reproductive and LGBTQ-inclusive care in California and across the country. As Black, Indigenous, and people of color disproportionately bear the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of Secretary Becerra’s confirmation as the first Latino to lead HHS can’t be overstated. Today’s confirmation vote is a critical step for addressing the systemic inequities in our healthcare system that have become all the more glaring this past year.”
During his time as California attorney general, Becerra has been a champion for protecting access to healthcare, including access to abortion care. He challenged the Trump administration’s attacks on the Title X Family Planning program and he stood strong against the administration’s efforts to make it harder to access healthcare, including their efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Becerra also demonstrated his support for reproductive freedom while serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he voted to protect access to abortion by opposing insurance coverage bans, fought against multiple abortion bans and restrictions, and opposed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.
The Trump administration used HHS as a vehicle to advance their unpopular and extreme anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ agenda. Former HHS secretary Alex Azar worked tirelessly to undermine reproductive freedom, attack access to abortion and contraception, and block access to healthcare for LGBTQ patients.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.