House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t directly answer a yes-or-no question about whether an “unborn baby at 15 weeks is a human being,” instead reaffirming a woman’s right to choose.
“Let me just say that I am a big supporter of Roe v. Wade. I am a mother of five children in six years. I think I have some standing on this issue as to respecting a woman’s right to choose,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during her weekly press conference Thursday.
The question was in reference to the Supreme Court’s plan to take up a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. The law was struck down by a federal judge in 2018, and again by the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in December 2019. Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, legalized abortion prior to viability, or about 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
Pelosi, like President Biden, is faced with the tense dichotomy of being both Catholic and Democrat. The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is a sin, but the Democratic Party firmly embraces a woman’s right to choose.
Pelosi has signaled support for eliminating the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, and Biden left it out of his proposed budget last month, though the budget is just a framework for Congress to work with.
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Pelosi’s hometown bishop suggested in May that lawmakers who support abortion should refrain from Communion.
“If you find that you are unwilling or unable to abandon your advocacy for abortion, you should not come forward to receive Holy Communion,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a pastoral letter.
Pelosi has long supported abortion rights and has faced many questions on whether her views put her at odds with the teachings of the church.
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The California Democrat has long given some variation of her answer in Thursday’s press conference. In 2015, when faced with a question from CNS News on whether 20 weeks into the gestation period the unborn child constitutes a “human being,” she said she had “great standing” to speak on the matter “as a mother of five in six years,” and that she knows more about having babies than the pope.