Xavier Becerra, President Biden’s nominee for health secretary, said Tuesday during his confirmation hearing that partial-birth abortion is another issue where “common ground” exists if politicians and health officials look hard enough.
Mr. Becerra, California’s attorney general, told Sen. Mitt Romney that if he is confirmed, he will respect “deeply held beliefs” as he navigates responsibilities at the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Most people agree that partial-birth abortion is awful,” said Mr. Romney, Utah Republican, who sits on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “You voted against a ban on partial-birth abortion. Why?”
“I understand that people have different, deeply held beliefs on this issue,” Mr. Becerra replied. “And I respect that. I have worked, as I have mentioned, for decades trying to protect the health of men and women, young and old, and as attorney general, my job has been to follow the law and make sure others are following the law.”
The nominee then stressed the need to find a principled compromise on the issue.
“I will tell you that when it comes to these issues, I understand that we may not always agree on where to go, but I think we can find some common ground,” Mr. Becerra said.
Mr. Romney disagreed.
“I think we can reach common ground on many issues, but on partial-birth abortion, it sounds like we are not going to reach a common ground there,” the senator said.
.@SenatorRomney: “You voted against a ban on partial birth abortion. Why?”— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) February 23, 2021
Becerra: “I understand that people have different deeply held beliefs on this issue….We may not always agree on where to go, but I think we can find some common ground.” pic.twitter.com/kGgGv33xCo
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