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The top health official in the country repeatedly ducked acknowledging that partial-birth abortions are illegal, according to U.S. law, during a Senate committee hearing.
“A woman has a right in this country to exercise reproductive choice,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra Thursday during a Senate committee hearing, dancing around a question about partial-birth abortions from Republican Sen. Steve Daines.
“Is it illegal?” Daines asked.
Becerra brushed the question aside, citing the court case that legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade.
Daines repeated the question: “Is partial-birth abortion legal or illegal in the United States?”
The question drew another sidestep from the health secretary, who pointed back at subsequent legal cases.
“It’s pretty simple,” Daines followed up, “is it legal or illegal?"
“A woman has a right to receive an abortion,” Becerra answered.
“So you’re saying it’s legal? A partial-birth abortion?” the Republican interjected.
The HHS secretary again dismissed the questions, provoking Daines to cite the specific ordinance that outlaws partial-birth abortions.
“The law is the law—partial birth abortions ARE illegal. So, why won't @JoeBiden's Secretary of HHS acknowledge the law? It's not hard,” Daines tweeted after the hearing.
This is not the first time Becerra refused to acknowledge the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that passed in 2003, which Becerra voted against when he served in the House of Representatives, and was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007.
PolitiFact reported last month that Becerra was wrong when he denied the existence of a law that makes partial-birth abortions illegal.
"There is no law that deals specifically with the term ‘partial-birth abortion,’” the health official is quoted as saying during a House subcommittee testimony on May 12.
The 2003 legislation “was passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate and signed by President George W. Bush. Its aim was to limit late-term abortions by banning the specific procedures used for them.”
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Original Author: Lawrence Richard