Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic congresswoman from California who was formerly speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, declared on Thursday that she knows more than the pope about at least one subject.
At a press conference, Pelosi was discussing the latest attempt by congressional Republicans ton pass a new law restricting abortion rights for women. In this case, the latest bill — given the name the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and designed to restrict late-term abortions — sputtered before coming to a vote not because of Democratic opposition, but because Republicans themselves could not agree on the merits of the restrictive legislation.
A group of Republican women, along with some male Republicans, in the House stopped the bill, at least for the time being, saying they feared that the bill’s restrictions could be perceived as an attack on women in general and further damage the GOP in the eyes of female voters.
The bill also required that rape victims report the crime to the police before they would be permitted to obtain an abortion if they are impregnated by their rapists.
“The less we engage on this issue legislatively, the better off we are as a party,” said Pennsylvania Republican Charlie Dent, referring to the rape provision.
“What kind of message are we sending?”
Pelosi, at a Thursday afternoon press conference on Capitol Hill, addressed the Republican efforts to pass new restrictions on abortion rights now that they occupy a majority in both the House and Senate — restrictions that, if passed, are nearly certain to be met with a veto from President Barack Obama.
“It isn’t an ideological fight, it’s a personal health issue,” said the 74-year-old House Minority Leader.
“And as a mother of five, in six years, I have great standing on this issue. Great understanding of it. More than my colleagues.”
Pelosi, who has served in the House continuously since June of 1987, recalled a debate on the abortion issue that occurred early in her congressional tenure, when she was chided on the floor of congress by a male colleague who was apparently offended by the fact that the Roman Catholic Pelosi took a position in favor of abortion rights that differed sharply from the position of the leader of the Catholic church.
“One of the Republican members got up and said, ‘Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the pope,'” the veteran congressmember recounted.
“Yeah. Yeah. That would be true.”
Watch Nancy Pelosi’s comments on her firsthand knowledge of child bearing compared to that of the pope, in the video clip, above.