Pro-life leaders expressed disappointment and outrage for the future of mothers and unborn babies after the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed pro-abortion extremist Xavier Becerra to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Becerra, a prosecutor and career politician, has no health care experience. His record includes trying to force pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise abortions and force nuns who serve the poor to pay for contraception, including forms that may cause abortions.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 50-49 to confirm him. 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.

“The nation needs a secretary with the public health experience necessary to help put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic,” responded Carol Tobias, the president of National Right to Life. “Becerra’s confirmation looks more and more like a deal with abortion groups to confirm an activist.”

Democrats for Life of America, which represents millions of pro-life Democrats, said its members also were “deeply disturbed” by the vote, which included support from pro-life Democrats Casey and Manchin.

“[Becerra’s] track record on abortion should shock and horrify every American, and his abortion policy is extreme, dangerous and deeply out of touch with mainstream opinion,” the pro-life Democrat leaders said.

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Thomas Glessner, whose organization, NIFLA, won a legal challenge against Becerra when he tried to force pro-life pregnancy centers in California to advertise abortions, described the new HHS secretary as a fanatical abortion activist.

“Becerra’s fanatical support of abortion resulted in the state-sponsored persecution of female-founded organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor and pregnancy centers,” Glessner said. “He fought these small nonprofits all the way to the Supreme Court. Becerra’s bullying and bigotry were on display for all to see in the so-called Reproductive FACT Act, which targeted pro-life pregnancy centers and medical clinics by forcing them to promote abortion.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Becerra and in favor of the pregnancy centers in 2018.

Pro-life women leaders who have had abortions, including former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson and Catherine Glenn Foster, president & CEO of Americans United for Life, mourned the impact that the new leaders’ abortion extremism will have on mothers and babies.

Foster said the choice of Becerra demonstrates that President Joe Biden is not really interested in unity or compromise to advance basic human rights.

“Xavier Becerra, a career apologist for the billion-dollar abortion industry, will now be leading one of America’s most vital public health institutions,” she said. “This disappointment will not stop Americans United for Life from advocating for the basic human rights of all Americans, especially the most vulnerable among us who are pre-born or facing the trauma of suicide by physician.”

Johnson, pointing to Becerra’s record of going after nuns who serve the poor and pregnancy centers, said the new HHS secretary does not just disagree with people of different opinions, “he wants to obliterate them.”

SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said polls show just how out-of-touch Becerra and the Biden administration are with the American people. Among other things, the Democrat leaders want to force Americans to pay for the killing of unborn babies in abortions – something polls consistently show most Americans oppose.

“President Biden could not have picked a more eager and enthusiastic partner to destroy pro-life policy and expand abortion on demand,” Dannenfelser said.

While the confirmation vote is a setback, pro-life leaders promised to continue fighting to protect mothers and babies from abortion.

“If his record is any indication, Becerra will weaponize the more than trillion-dollar budget of the Department of Health and Human Services to attack or disadvantage those with whom he disagrees, and advance unpopular pro-abortion policies,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life. “Pro-life Americans will be keeping a close eye on Becerra’s agenda and will continue to speak out in defense of women and the unborn.”

Autumn Leva, Family Policy Alliance vice president of strategy, added: “… today’s rare, nearly unanimous opposition from Republicans shows that they recognize the extremity of Becerra’s agenda. Further, it reflects a galvanized grassroots that is awake and ready to defend against the attacks that we expect to be forthcoming from the Department and the Biden Administration as a whole.”

Until Thursday, Becerra was the attorney general of California. 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.

He also sued the federal government in 2017 because President Donald Trump 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 the defending the rule against Becerra’s challenge.

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