Xavier Becerra, Biden’s Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary who back in June of 2021 smiled and outright refused to use the word “mother” when questioned about the administration’s use of the phrase “birthing people,” labeled the recent Supreme Court ruling concerning Roe v. Wade as “despicable.”
This past weekend, Becerra stated that the HHS may be preparing to assist in the transportation of women over state lines in order to allow them to get an abortion.
This past Tuesday morning, Becerra sneered, “On Friday, June 24, five Americans decided to use the vast power bestowed upon them by our democracy and our Constitution to unconscionably put at risk the life and health of millions of our fellow Americans. They chose to unconscionably limit Americans’ established freedom and autonomy to control their own body. Decision usually made in consultation with their doctor, not a politician. And they chose to unconscionably strip away the fundamental health care protections that every American of child-bearing age has known all their lives.
“Friday’s Supreme Court decision was despicable, but it was not unpredictable. HHS has been preparing for this for some time,” he stated, seemingly still quite angry.
Back in June of 2021, while speaking in front of the entire Senate Finance Committee hearing concerning the fiscal year 2022 HHS budget request for the Biden administration, Becerra came across Oklahoma GOP Senator James Lankford and spoke about the removal of the word “mother” and instead choosing to make use of the phrase “birthing people.”
Lankford was able to corner Becerra about the odd omission of the word “mother,” claiming, “I also notice you changed a term in your budget where you shifted in places from using the term ‘mother’ to ‘birthing people’ rather than ‘mother.’ Can you help me get a good definition of ‘birthing people?’”
Becerra attempted to shrug off the question, “Well, I’ll check on the language there, but I think if we’re talking about those who give birth I think we’re talking about —” Seemingly unable to let himself to say “mother,” he then smiled, “I don’t know how else to explain it to you other than …” before letting his voice trail off.
As a result, Langford pushed harder, “I was a little taken aback when I just read it and saw it that the term ‘mother’ was gone and it was replaced with ‘birthing people” and I didn’t know if this was a direction you were going, if there were shifts, if there were regulatory changes that are happening related to that or what the purpose of that is.”
Becerra attempted to dodge the question, “I think it’s probably — and again I’d have to go back and take a look at the language that was used in the budget, but I think it simply reflects the work that is being done.”
“I definitely get that; I would only say the language is important always; we don’t want to offend in our language; I get that,” stated Lankford. “But would you at least admit calling a mom a ‘birthing person’ could be offensive to some moms? They don’t want to get like a ‘Happy Birthing Person’ card in May. Can you at least admit that term itself could be offensive to some moms?”
Becerra still chose to dance around the argument being made by Lankford, laughing, “Senator, I’ll go back and take a look at the terminology that was used and I can get back to you, but again, if we’re trying to be precise in the language that’s used.”
Lankford shot back, “Mom’s a pretty good word. That’s worked for a while and I think that’s pretty precise as well.”