Politico reported yesterday that former Utah governor and Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt “is the most important figure in Mitt Romney’s campaign you may have never heard of,” adding Leavitt “has been tapped to head Romney’s transition process” and is being buzzed about by insider Republicans as Romney’s potential chief-of-staff.
My eyes lit up when seeing Leavitt’s name. Leavitt gave me the best birthday present ever when on April 22, 2005, as President George W. Bush’s HHS secretary, he issued a memo ordering that the Born Alive Infants Protection Act be “aggressively enforce[d]“:
The Act reaffirms the legal principle that all infants born alive are entitled to the full protection of the law. That is a principle I will vigorously uphold as Secretary. As a matter of law and policy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will investigate all circumstances where individuals and entities are reported to be withholding medical care from an infant born alive in potential violation of federal statutes for which we are responsible. We will also take proactive steps to educate state officials, health care providers, hospitals and child protection agencies about their obligations to born-alive infants under federal law.
We took the first of these educational steps today by notifying relevant entities that we aggressively enforce federal laws that protect born-alive infants….
Ours is a society that values and defends life. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue to seek ways to revere and protect the dignity of life.
What good news it is that Leavitt is already one of Romney’s top advisors.
Reading Leavitt’s memo also reminded me how dark and deadly the position of HHS secretary has become.
[Photo via the Associated Press]