By Christine Rousselle
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused pro-lifers of putting their opposition to abortion over the tenets of democracy in a recent appearance on former Sen. Hillary Clinton’s podcast.
“I think that Donald Trump is president because of the issue of a woman’s right to choose,” Pelosi said on the Jan. 18 episode of “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton,” blaming pro-life voters for boosting Trump into office.
“When you take the greed of those who want their tax cuts, that’s probably a small number [of voters], but nonetheless a number,” said Pelosi. Conversely, “then you take the abortion issue–and many of these people are very good people; that’s just their point of view. But they were willing to sell the whole democracy down the river for that one issue.”
Pelosi said that that support for Trump by pro-life religious voters is an issue that “gives me great grief as a Catholic.”
When Clinton ran against Trump in 2016, the Democratic Party platform was noted for its extreme pro-abortion stance. That platform included, for the first time, a call to repeal the Hyde Amendment which prevents the use of tax money to pay for elective abortions. The policy has received bipartisan support throughout its nearly 50 years of existence.
The party platform further said that “every woman should have access” to “safe and legal abortion.”
On the Jan. 18 podcast, Pelosi said that when Trump in 2016 produced a list of judges he would appoint as president, it amounted to a “dog whistle to the Evangelicals, to the Catholics, and all the rest: a woman will not have the right to choose.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that while issues such as poverty and the death penalty cannot be ignored, ending abortion remains the “preeminent priority” for the bishops “because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.”
Clinton replied that one of the “terrible ironies” of the pro-life position was the declining abortion rate under Democratic presidents. The former senator said that “with proper contraception and education and a stigma-free conversation, the numbers can continue to go way down.”
“So, what’s really incredibly sad is how those who, in my opinion and experience, do not view this issue as a priority, have used the legitimate questions, concerns, and yes, understanding of faith, to obtain and use power,” said Clinton.
Pelosi said that those who “reject terminating a pregnancy” should “love contraception,” and said that those who were opposed to this were hypocrites as they themselves did not have large families.
“Many of these people, of course, are not having 13 children,” said Pelosi. “And as somebody who had five children almost exactly to the day in six years, I said to my colleagues, when you have five children in six years, you come around and talk to me as a Catholic.”
While Clinton is correct that the abortion rate declined in the 90s, she did not mention that in the United States, abortion rates peaked in the early 80s and have been decreasing regularly since then, regardless of which political party has held the presidency.
In 2011, the abortion rate in the United States was below that of the year 1973, the year Roe v. Wade brought legal abortion to the United States.
And although both Clinton and Pelosi credited contraception use for the declining abortion rate, the Guttmacher Institute found that abortion rates in the United States began a steeper decline beginning in 2008, well before the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate was enacted.