The U.S. Senate confirmed radical pro-abortion politician Xavier Becerra as health secretary on Thursday in a narrow, largely party-line vote.

The vote to confirm was 50-49 in the divided U.S. Senate. Those who voted in favor of Becerra included two Democrats who profess to be pro-life, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin, of West Virginia. Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who is pro-abortion, also crossed party lines and voted for him.

Becerra, the attorney general of California, is President Joe Biden’s choice to run the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A career politician with no medical background, he has a radical pro-abortion record that includes prosecuting the undercover journalistssupporting partial-birth abortions and attempting to force nuns who serve the poor and elderly to fund abortions.

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On the Senate floor, U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, who is a doctor, criticized Becerra for abusing his political power to criminally prosecute pro-life journalists. He noted that even the leftist Los Angeles Times described Becerra’s action as “disturbingly aggressive.”

“Frankly I think his nomination shocked the country,” Barrasso said, emphasizing that Americans need leaders who will unify the country, not divide it.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also spoke out against the nominee, saying, “If a Republican president had nominated someone to HHS like Xavier Becerra with zero health care experience, zero medical experience, zero pharmaceutical experience in the midst of a global pandemic, they would have been laughed out of the room.”

Other Republicans also called out Becerra for voting against a ban on partial-birth abortions and trying to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions.

U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, said the new HHS secretary has “bullied and harassed Americans who respect the sanctity of human life” and made a career out of defending the abortion industry.

Responding to Republicans’ criticism, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, confirmed that he supports Becerra precisely because he is pro-abortion and will advance their radical agenda.

Markey slammed pro-life Republicans’ “anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-health rhetoric” as a “craven political play to their base,” and falsely claimed that most Americans support the killing of unborn babies in abortions for basically any reason without restriction.

“Abortion is health care,” Markey said. “We need to stand up and raise our voices against Republicans’ work to restrict access to women’s health services. … Voters expect the Biden-Harris administration to take bold steps to expand access to reproductive health care and freedoms. They expect it because they want it.”

But polls consistently show that most Americans oppose the extreme positions that Markey and Becerra take, such as allowing partial-birth abortions on viable, healthy, pain-capable unborn babies and forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions.

Many Republican and Democrat voters have been speaking out against Becerra’s confirmation because of his radical pro-abortion record.

“Mr. Becerra’s confirmation would be divisive and a step in the wrong direction,” more than 60 pro-life leaders wrote in a letter to U.S. Senators in February. He “has proven himself to be an enemy of the health of women and the unborn. He cannot be entrusted with our national health programs and policies and is not qualified to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services.”

Pro-life Democrat leaders also are urging the U.S. Senate to reject Becerra, noting his lack of medical experience and his extremist position on abortion.

“We need someone to lead HHS who values the fullness of life and won’t actively work to advocate to expand the opportunity to end it through abortion,” said Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats For Life of America, in a separate statement. “The nomination of a state AG with little medical experience only serves the purpose of appeasing the abortion cultural warriors in the Democratic Party. This runs counter to the Biden Administration’s stated goal of healing divisions in the United States.”

Though Becerra claims to be Catholic, his record involving unborn babies and those who work to protect them is terrible. As head of HHS, Becerra would have even more power to advance a radical anti-life agenda, including expanding late-term abortions on babies capable of feeling pain and forcing taxpayers to pay for their deaths.

Becerra’s record as a former congressman and attorney general do not bode well for the future of religious freedom, free speech or unborn babies’ right to life.

He defended a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to post signs advertising abortions; however, he lost at the U.S. Supreme Court. And he challenged a Trump administration rule that defunded Planned Parenthood of about $60 million in Title X funds.

Becerra also sued the federal government in 2017 because President Donald Trump has instituted a pro-life rule to protect Christian charities from having to pay for forms of contraception that may cause abortions through Obamacare. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a charity of nuns who serve the poor and elderly, is involved in defending the rule against Becerra.

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