HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra

On Wednesday President Biden’s federal Health and Human Services Secretary, Xavier Becerra, reportedly told members of congress, “There is no law that deals specifically with the term partial-birth abortion. We have clear precedent in the law on the rights that women have to reproductive health care, and we will follow the law and protect the rights of all Americans to their healthcare”

In 2003 President George W. Bush signed the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

The law specifically prohibits partial-birth abortion under federal law. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional in 2007.

However, Secretary Becerra claims that federal law does not specifically address partial-birth abortion.

Arkansas’ U.S. Senator Tom Cotton was quick to condemn Becerra’s comments, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation, “It’s no surprise that a pro-abortion radical like Xavier Becerra is trying to ignore the law banning partial-birth abortion—he voted against it when he was a congressman. . . . Becerra is an officer of the United States government. He doesn’t get to pick and choose which laws to enforce and which to ignore.”

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also released a statement on Twitter, saying,

The Biden administration and Biden’s HHS Secretary are planting their first step in trying to make Partial Birth Abortions legal. As someone who helped pioneer Arkansas as the most pro-life state in the country, I won’t stand for it!

All of this underscores why it’s so important for states like Arkansas to keep passing good, pro-life laws.

In 2009 the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 196, The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Act 196 is similar to the federal law congress passed in 2003. It prohibits partial-birth abortion in Arkansas.

Even if the federal ban on partial-birth abortion went away, Arkansas’ law would remain in place, protecting unborn children from abortion.

Back in 2009 some people questioned why Arkansas needed to pass Act 196 if congress had already prohibited partial-birth abortion. But Secretary Becerra’s latest comments show why we should pass pro-life legislation at the state level as well as the federal level.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons