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Becerra will be critical force to advance health equity and sexual and reproductive health care at HHS

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a bipartisan vote. Secretary Becerra is committed to equitably advancing health care rights and access — including sexual and reproductive health care — for all people. His confirmation comes as more than half a million people have died due to COVID-19 and millions have lost access to health care. Becerra’s experience and leadership make him well-prepared to guide the country through this and other public health crises.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“We are thrilled that the Senate confirmed Xavier Becerra as HHS secretary. People need access to comprehensive health care now more than ever, and Becerra’s record fighting for high quality, equitable health care, including sexual and reproductive care, makes him the right person for the job at this critical time. While the American Rescue Plan Act was a massive step forward in expanding access to care, more needs to be done to expand health care access right now and beyond the pandemic: from modernizing the Title X family planning program, to rescinding discriminatory Trump health rules and eliminating unnecessary barriers to abortion access. Planned Parenthood is eager to collaborate with Secretary Becerra and the Biden-Harris administration to protect and expand our health and rights — we’re ready to get to work.”  

Statement from Jodi Hicks, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California: 

“We are excited to congratulate California’s very own Attorney General Becerra as the next HHS Secretary. Across his decades of public service in California, Becerra has been a staunch champion in his work to protect health care access, gender equality, and racial equity. We know he will take the same leadership he demonstrated in California, along with his background and policy expertise, to our nation’s capital. Today marks an exciting new chapter in our nation’s history, and we thank the Senators who voted to confirm our next HHS Secretary. We know Becerra will get to work immediately in helping guide — and heal — our nation.” 

Becerra, a historic HHS secretary, is the first Latino to hold this position. A fluent Spanish speaker and the son of a Mexican immigrant, Becerra will bring an important and necessary perspective to his position as the nation works to tackle health inequities. 

Becerra comes to the position with the managerial experience, policy expertise, and leadership skills to not only lead HHS, but also to protect and expand access to health care for all people — no matter who they are or where they live. As a congressman representing California for 12 terms, he was instrumental in developing and passing the Affordable Care Act. As California attorney general, Becerra fought to protect the ACA and the Title X program for affordable reproductive health care; challenged the Trump administration’s racist public charge rule; and defended a state law that required so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide accurate information to their patients. 

Planned Parenthood stands ready to work with Secretary Becerra and the entire Biden-Harris administration to undo the harms of the past four years and advance health care coverage, access and rights for all people. Through HHS, President Biden and Secretary Becerra must end the domestic gag rule that silences providers in the Title X program, roll back other harmful policies from the Trump administration, protect people against COVID-19, reckon with systemic racism, and so much more.

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.