House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday evening that the issue of late-term abortion has been “used by the far right” to make a case against abortion because it “sounds like something that shouldn’t happen.”
During a town hall broadcast on CNN, a woman asked Pelosi about abortion, telling her that she had undergone a late-term abortion, a procedure that takes place in the final months of pregnancy.
The California Democrat thanked the participant for sharing her story and said that decisions about abortion “should not be made by politicians in Washington, D.C.”
“The issue of late-term abortion is one that has been used by the far-right to fight a woman’s right to choose because it sounds like something that shouldn’t happen,” Pelosi said. “But when it’s about a woman’s health, it’s a very personal, individual decision.”
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Pelosi said that the town hall participant “portrayed what we’re up against” and claimed that Republicans “don’t support birth control.”
She added that one of House Republicans’ first actions in the new Congress was to pass a “harsher” version of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for elective abortion procedures. The House's bill — if signed into law — would make the Hyde Amendment permanent.
“It’s a reflection of the lack of respect for women that we saw in the campaign on the part of the candidate for president,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi again thanked the participant for “prayerfully” sharing her decision. She then cited a quote from President Abraham Lincoln, saying that “public sentiment is everything.”
“The more the public knows about the choices that are made, the more families know about how those decisions affect them, the more they may weigh in and hold elected officials accountable,” she said.
Pelosi, a Catholic, also said she knows more about having babies than the pope. The Catholic Church and its head, Pope Francis, are staunchly opposed to abortion.
She also criticized Republicans for efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, arguing that cutting off access to the organization's family planning services will result in more abortions.
A recent Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus found that 59 percent of Americans support banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother's life is at risk. A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found similar results.
Another participant in the town hall told Pelosi that she was given up for adoption by her birth mother, and now she has the opportunity to “thrive and succeed” in life. She asked Pelosi if she thinks everyone should have that ability.
Pelosi replied that the participant’s birth mother chose adoption, “and we want other people to have that opportunity to choose as well.”
She added that she wants to work toward promoting education, health care and a clean environment for children.
“Many of our friends who are so intent on when life begins — in their view — do not subscribe to that after the child is born to meet the needs of the children,” Pelosi said.
She added that she hopes the participant will “help us help all of these children to be able to thrive when their mothers make that choice to have them as well.”