In an ironic twist, abortion political advocacy organization NARAL Pro-Choice America has rebuked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her statement to Roll Call’s Melinda Henneberger that she is not for “abortion on demand.”
The organization’s sharp criticism of Pelosi demonstrates the intense pressure the abortion industry is experiencing as a result of the recent series of undercover Planned Parenthood videos—that led to a vote to defund the abortion business—and the strong pro-life stance of the GOP presidential candidates.
During the interview that focused on the recent GOP vote and the undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s apparent practices of selling the body parts of aborted babies and repositioning babies during abortions in order to harvest intact organs, Pelosi said, “I don’t believe in abortion on demand, I don’t believe in abortion on demand.”
The Democrat leader went on to say that politicians should not be making decisions for a woman when “the health of the mother and the child” are at issue.
“This is about a woman’s judgment. This is about respect — respect — for women,” Pelosi continued, asserting, however, that she did not even like using the word “abortion” when asked if she was worried that “abortion rights would be eroded” if limits were imposed on it.
“No, I don’t subscribe to that argument… I don’t even like to use the word” abortion, she said. “That’s my generation; I don’t like to use the word… but this is something so personal.”
— NARAL (@NARAL) January 13, 2016
In an update to the interview Wednesday, Roll Call noted NARAL’s response to Pelosi’s comments:
“At a time when our rights are under daily attack in the halls of Congress, on the campaign trail, in statehouses and in the courts, now more than ever, we need our champions to speak with a clear and strong voice in support of our legal right to abortion,’’ said the statement from NARAL senior vice president Sasha Bruce. “Unfortunately, Leader Pelosi’s recent comments fall well short of this standard.
“The Leader should stop using twisted GOP talking points about abortion and birth control. We don’t know women who demand abortion or use abortion as birth control. We do know women who make thoughtful decisions about how and if they want to start a family, and who need access to all reproductive-health care services, including abortion. We’re confident the Leader does too, which makes her comments all the more troubling.
“Time and time again, Leader Pelosi has stood up for women and our reproductive rights. But at a moment when so much is at stake, her comments are particularly disappointing and ill-advised.”
In response to NARAL’s sharp criticism, Pelosi spokeswoman Evangeline George issued the following statement:
Roe v. Wade affirmed a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions. Leader Pelosi was referring to the fact that abortions later in pregnancy are not guaranteed under Roe v. Wade, with limited exceptions such as protecting the mother’s life or health. In an attempt to chip away at a woman’s right to choose, House Republicans voted to impose a nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks with no meaningful exception to protect the health of the mother.
When asked about the 20-week ban, Pelosi responded:
Let me say this; I’m a Catholic, a devout, practicing Catholic. I take great comfort in my faith, come from a very Catholic family, largely pro-life. I’ve had five children and the day my fifth child was born, my oldest turned 6, so I’m with the program in terms of the Catholic Church. However, if there’s one issue that really — I try to be dispassionate about how we find solutions — if there’s one issue that really is almost inflaming to women, is when politicians say we will influence the size and timing of your family; we will decide what is right for you…
Most of those cases that we hear beyond 20 weeks are painful for the families — painful for the families — but that’s not up to politicians in Washington, D.C., to decide; that’s between women and their doctors.
Pelosi also replied—when asked about the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos—that she never watched them, except for clips on the news.
When informed by Henneberger that even the study of the videos commissioned by Planned Parenthood itself had not found that the CMP tapes had been doctored—“on the contrary, it said it found ‘no substantive video manipulation’ and ‘no evidence of audio manipulation’”—Pelosi answered, “I did not sit down and watch their doctored versions of what may have happened, and I still say they’re doctored.”
Pelosi said she views the Republican bill to defund Planned Parenthood as an “insult to the intelligence and judgment of women.”
“In a stunning interview… Nancy Pelosi manages to insult women and the American intelligence at once,” said Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, in a statement sent to Breitbart News.
“She claims to simultaneously oppose any restrictions on abortion whatsoever and oppose abortion on demand,” McGuire observes, noting Pelosi’s inconsistency. “Her position is completely out of step with the average American, who opposes late-term abortion and taxpayer funding for abortion.”
McGuire asserts that Pelosi “repeatedly insults women with the sexist, tired and statistically inaccurate assumption that women automatically support abortion by nature of their gender, especially her extremist view of it.”
Maureen Ferguson, senior policy advisor also with The Catholic Association, cites a new Quinnipiac poll that finds 60 percent of women prefer allowing unrestricted abortions for only the first 20 weeks of pregnancy rather than the Supreme Court-prescribed 24 weeks.
“Among men, 50 percent support the 20-week law — a 10-point gap,” she observes.
“A Washington Post-ABC News poll showed the gap at seven points, while two other polls (from NBC/Wall Street Journal and National Journal) showed it at six and four, respectively,” Ferguson continued. “In fact, of four major polls conducted in recent weeks on the 20-week abortion ban, each one shows women are actually more supportive of the law than men.”