Pelosi: Banning Abortion Post-22 Weeks Is 'Disrespectful' to Women

Elizabeth Harrington | June 13, 2013 | 1:44pm EDT
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Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House minority leader. (AP photo)

( – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said a bill to outlaw abortions after 22 weeks (5-and-a-half months) is “disrespectful” to women,  adding that “as a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me.”

“Yesterday was just really another day in the life of the Republican Congress,” Pelosi said during a Thursday press conference on Capitol Hill.  “They passed legislation that was disrespectful of the rights, health and safety of American women.”

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“All the people who voted for the bill were men,” she said.  “Disrespectful.”

“This action yesterday where the House Judiciary committee approved the bill without any exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or protecting the health of the women -- all the people that voted for the bill were men,” Pelosi said.

While Pelosi is Catholic, she supports abortion, which is contrary to Catholic moral teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.”

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” a bill that would ban abortions 20 weeks post-fertilization, which typically occurs two weeks after the last menstrual period.  Most pregnancies are dated based on the last menstrual period, making the approximate age of the baby 22 weeks.

The bill passed out of committee on a 20-12 vote.  While Pelosi is correct that no women voted for the bill, there are also no female Republicans on the committee.

“I know when the subject is related in any way to abortion, the doors of reason and human compassion in our minds and hearts often close, and the humanity of the unborn can no longer be seen,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Texas), following the vote.

“But I pray we can at least come together to agree that we can and should draw the line at the point that these innocent babies can feel the excruciating pain of these brutal procedures,” said Franks.

“The case of Kermit Gosnell shocked the sensibilities of millions of Americans,” Franks remarked.  “However, the crushing fact is that abortions on babies just like the ones killed by Kermit Gosnell have been happening hundreds of times per day, every single day, for the past 40 years.”

Baby girl aborted at office of Dr. Kermit Gosnell in West Philadelphia, Pa. (Photo: Grand Jury Report, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania.)

After remarking that the bill was disrespectful, Pelosi then became very defensive when John McCormack, a staff writer for the Weekly Standard, asked her about the moral difference between convicted murderer Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who severed baby’s spinal cords after they survived late-term abortions, and killing a baby the same age inside of the womb.

“Members who have proposed that bill have done that in the wake of this murder trial in Philadelphia,” McCormack said.  “They argue that there really isn’t much of a moral difference between what someone like Dr. Kermit Gosnell did to infants born at 23, 24, 25 weeks in the pregnancy and what can happen at a clinic down the road in Maryland where a doctor says he can perform elective abortions 28 weeks into pregnancy.”

“So the question I have for you, what is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks, and aborting her moments before birth?” he asked.

“Okay, you’re probably enjoying that question a lot, I can see you savoring it,” Pelosi responded, to the laughter of other reporters.  “But let me just tell you this:  What was done in Philadelphia was reprehensible and everybody condemned it.”

“For them to decide to disrespect a judgment a woman makes about her reproductive health is reprehensible,” Pelosi said.

McCormack then repeated, “I just asked a simple question, I didn’t savor that question, what’s the moral difference then?  Between 26 weeks elective abortion and killing of that same infant born alive.  This is the issue that—”

“This is not the issue,” Pelosi said.  “They are saying that there is no abortion, they want to make it a federal law, to be no abortion in our country.”

“You’re taking the extreme case,” she said.  “You’re taking the extreme case, and what I’m saying to you is what happened in Philadelphia was reprehensible, and I do not think you use that—I’m not going to have this conversation with you because you obviously have an agenda.  You’re not interested in having an answer.”

“But I have responded to you to the extent that I’m going to respond to you, because I’m going to tell you something,” Pelosi said.  “As a mother of five children, my oldest child is 6 years old the day I brought my fifth child home from the hospital.

“As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this,” she said.   “I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics, and that’s where you’re taking it and I’m not going there.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also says, “From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a ‘criminal’ practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life.”

When asked later during the press conference to return to the abortion issue, Pelosi quickly shut it down.

“No, I’m not going to,” she said.

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