Thanks to an enterprising reporter, Nancy Pelosi received a nastygram this morning from one of her favorite organizations: NARAL.
In an interview, captured by Roll Call, Nancy Pelosi, who supports abortion rights despite being what she describes as a “devout Catholic,” claimed that the Center for Medical Progress videos, which captured Planned Parenthood executives describing a heinous organ-harvesting procedure using aborted fetuses, had been “doctored.” Whe she was corrected by the reporter, who said that an independent review had found no evidence of doctoring, she claimed that Republican efforts to defund the abortion provider were actually centered around denying family planning services and contraception. Then, asked whether she could explain her opposition to a bill that outlawed abortion after 20 weeks gestation, she first claimed late-term abortions were illegal, then clairified her statement by saying that she “[does not] believe in abortion on demand” — a shock, I’m sure, to most of her supporters.
“No,’’ she said, “I don’t believe in abortion on demand, I don’t believe in abortion on demand. I’m talking about the health of the mother and the child and this is not a decision that a politician should be making. This is about a woman’s judgment. This is about respect — respect — for women. I sometimes wonder if the Republican men who are here even know what’s going on in their own families, because the fact is that contraception and birth control is something that is used — I don’t believe that abortion is a form of birth control or contraception — and if you want to diminish the number of abortions in our country, you should love contraception, but they don’t.”
That failed to sit right with NARAL, the nation’s leading abortion rights group, who issued a terse and strongly worded statement to the former Speaker of the House almost immediately.
In an interview published Wednesday in which the California Democrat defended a woman’s right to abortion, Pelosi said, “I don’t believe in abortion on demand.” The interview appeared in Roll Call, which covers Congress.
NARAL Pro-Choice America said in a written statement that with abortion rights under attack by lawmakers, advocates need their supporters “to speak with a clear and strong voice” and should not use “twisted GOP talking points.”
“We don’t know women who demand abortion,” said the statement by Sasha Bruce, a NARAL senior vice president. Bruce added, “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.”
Both statements are interesting, honestly. Nancy Pelosi seems to be echoing her fellow Democrats in trying to place opposition to federally funding planned parenthood on the GOP’s so-called “War on Women,” rather than openly acknowledging that Planned Parenthood’s most distinguishing characteristic, from other women-centric medical practices, is that it provides abortions (hence why the Republicans are trying to defund Planned Parenthood, and not the myriad other womens’ healthcare providers, far more numerous than Planned Parenthood branches). Late-term abortion is a sticking point for Nancy, just as it is for most Americans, and being forced into the “deep end of the pool” — forced to discuss abortion at a different extreme from which they’re used to — puts Democrats like Nancy into a precarious position. Does she support abortion, without restriction, until the baby is halfway through the birth canal? Can she support harming fetuses who are capable of life outside the womb? Not a question she wants to have to answer.
NARAL’s response is also interesting, in that it’s likely the first example I’ve seen of a reproductive rights organization openly and publicly chastizing a Democrat. Something like this is only likely to happen if they feel their position of power is threatened, or that they may lose Democratic support over their more extreme policies. This is the second time NARAL has found fault with Nancy Pelosi, who supported a compromise bill last year that would limit community health centers, supported by Obamacare and Medicaid funding, from providing abortions. Maybe they feel their best hopes are slipping away?
Isn’t that delicious to think about?