Joe Biden’s HHS Nominee Xavier Becerra Supported Assisted Suicide in California

In 2018, Becerra called the ruling “an important step to protect and defend the End of Life Option Act for our families across the state.”

Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. (photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) received the praise of pro-euthanasia organizations during his time as attorney general of California. 

Xavier Becerra, who has served as California’s attorney general since 2017, was praised by pro-euthanasia groups as he fought in court to preserve the state’s assisted suicide law, the End of Life Option Act. 

When the Riverside County Superior Court in 2018 overturned the law—finding that the state legislature unlawfully passed it during a 2015 special session—Becerra filed an appeal objecting to the court’s decision. 

In June, 2018, the Fourth District Appellate Court sided with Becerra and the state of California and stayed the superior court’s decision, reinstating the End of Life Option Act. 

Becerra called the ruling “an important step to protect and defend the End of Life Option Act for our families across the state.”

He defended the law, saying that the ruling “provides some relief to California patients, their families, and doctors who have been living in uncertainty while facing difficult health decisions.”

Later in Jan., 2020, the Riverside County Superior Court upheld the End of Life Option Act, determining that it was lawfully passed and did not violate the state constitution. 

In response to this ruling, Compassion & Choices — an advocacy organization that pushes for expanded legalization of assisted suicide — praised Becerra for his work on behalf of the state’s assisted suicide law. 

“We appreciate Attorney General Becerra’s efforts in this legal battle that already has lasted 3-1/2 years, but we will not rest until we win this case outright on behalf of terminally ill Californians who depend on this law to ensure they can die peacefully, ”said Kevin Díaz, the chief legal advocacy officer for Compassion & Choices in Jan., 2020.  

Compassion & Choices also promoted a “Thank you Xavier Becerra” form as part of its advocacy for the law. 

“Attorney General Xavier Becerra is standing up for Californians by fighting to ensure we have the right to make end-of-life decisions with dignity,” said Compassion & Choices. 

“Our Attorney General isn’t alone – the vast majority of Californians support this law, and terminally ill Californians and their families deserve better than to have this option ripped away from them,” they said. 

A coalition of pro-life groups have already sounded the alarm about Becerra’s nomination as HHS Secretary, pointing to his record in support of pro-abortion causes as California’s attorney general. 

Becerra is scheduled to appear before two Senate committees this week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, for his confirmation hearings.

The group Students for Life of America has launched a paid and earned media campaign in ten states, urging voters to call their senators daily in opposition to Becerra’s nomination. 

They have targeted ten senators in particular: Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Mitt Romney, R-Utah, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Bob Casey, D-Pa., Michael Bennett, D-Colo., Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz..

Seven senators and dozens of House members also wrote President Biden on Monday, asking him to rescind Becerra’s nomination. They cited Becerra’s defense of state mandates that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion.

“Mr. Becerra’s extremism and contempt for those who take a different view contradict your calls for unity,” the members told Biden. “His appointment would sow further division at a time our country needs to heal and would endanger lives at a time our citizens need life-saving treatments, vaccinations, and the freedom to work and worship together.”

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