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A number of Catholics and conservative activists are sounding the alarm Monday over Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Xavier Becerra, pointing to his record of attacking conservative policies as California's attorney general.
"President-elect Joe Biden’s choice of Xavier Becerra to run HHS is a gross insult to Catholics," said Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with the Catholic Association.
"Becerra spent years tormenting the Little Sisters of the Poor in court, trying to force them to pay for things like abortion pills against their consciences," McGuire said. "He also led efforts to force pro-life pregnancy resource centers to advertise for abortion. Thankfully both of his efforts failed at the Supreme Court. But Becerra is outright hostile to religious liberty and Biden’s choice of someone so openly anti-Catholic is an affront to the faith that he so frequently invoked as part of his campaign."
Becerra was one of the many attorneys general who peppered the Trump administration with lawsuits.
More specifically, he sued over President Trump's religious exemption for Obamacare's contraception mandate, his protections for doctors who refused to perform abortions and other procedures that violated their conscience, his decision to effectively cut Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, and he defended a law requiring pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion.
NIFLA, the network of pregnancy centers challenging that law, said on Monday that Biden's pick "solidifies the fact that his administration will be the most anti-life regime in American history."
"Along with the vice presidency of Kamala Harris, Mr. Becerra's appointment guarantees that Biden's administration will harbor a particular hostility toward the life-saving work of pregnancy centers nationwide," said NIFLA President Thomas Glessner.
SBA List President Marjorie Danenfelser argued that Biden picked an "extremist" who would hurt efforts to unite the country. “This pick underscores the importance of winning in Georgia to prevent pro-abortion forces from taking control of the U.S. Senate," she said.
As Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' successor, Becerra continued her prosecution against journalist David Daleiden, who released undercover videos in 2015 exposing controversial comments from Planned Parenthood officials.
Live Action President Lila Rose tweeted: "In picking Xavier Becerra, @JoeBiden shows that not only will he force taxpayers to fund the slaughter of preborn children at the will of their parents (repeal of #Hyde), but he supports the prosecution of Americans who dare to expose the unprecedented evils of Planned Parenthood."
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) praised the decision to nominate Becerra.
“The American people want Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and advance and expand our reproductive rights — with these nominees, they are beginning to meet the call," said PPFA CEO Alexis McGill Johnson.
"Xavier Becerra is a staunch sexual and reproductive health champion who understands the urgent need to tackle inequalities in our health care system. As California’s attorney general, he fought back against the domestic gag rule and led the defense of the Affordable Care Act — a case that is now before the Supreme Court."
Announced on Monday, Biden's pick drew more scrutiny to how his faith influenced his policy agenda. Several bishops have already raised concerns about his advocacy on abortion and warned that he shouldn't partake in the sacrament of communion.
Biden's team did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment. After a South Carolina priest denied him communion, Biden said: "I'm a practicing Catholic. I practice my faith, but I've never let my religious beliefs, which I accept based on Church doctrine … impose … on other people."
For years, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment with the rationale that religious Americans shouldn't have to pay for procedures they fundamentally oppose. That's why his reversal on the policy last year sent shockwaves through the media. Biden, however, appeared to personally flout church teaching when he officiated a same-sex wedding ceremony in 2016.
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