House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended her congressional record Sunday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom slammed Democrats for dropping the ball on abortion rights.
Asked why pro-choice Democrats were “outmaneuvered,” Ms. Pelosi bristled, insisting that Democrats have “been fighting against the Republicans in the Congress constantly.”
“I have no idea why anybody would make that statement unless they were unaware of the fight that has been going on,” Ms. Pelosi said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
Mr. Newsom chastised his own party at a Wednesday press conference held outside Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles after Monday’s bombshell leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a constitutional right to abortion.
“Where the hell is my party? Where’s the Democratic Party? Why aren’t we standing up more firmly, more resolutely? Why aren’t we calling this out?” Mr. Newsom asked. “This a concerted, coordinated effort and yes, they’re winning. They are. They have been. Let’s acknowledge that. We need to stand up. Where’s the counter-offensive?”
.@margbrennan: Should Democrats have fought harder for abortion rights in 2009?
Speaker Pelosi: “In 2009 we did not have a pro-choice Democratic party…Right now we do have a pro-choice Democratic Congress and we passed the law months ago” pic.twitter.com/almjExDMBt
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) May 8, 2022
Mr. Pelosi pointed out that the House passed an abortion-rights bill in September, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has since languished in the Senate.
It was a rare public disagreement for the two high-profile California Democrats, who are not only political allies but were once related by marriage.
Mr. Newsom’s aunt, Barbara Newsom, was previously married to Ron Pelosi, the speaker’s brother-in-law, but divorced in 1977, according to ABC7 in San Francisco.
In the 2008 election, Democrats won the House, Senate and White House, but President Barack Obama said then that abortion was “not the highest legislative priority.” Republicans took back the House in 2010.
Ms. Pelosi said that in 2009, “we really did not have a pro-choice Democratic Party. I had to fight against some of the people who did not want to pass the Affordable Care Act because they were concerned that it might enable more freedom of choice.”
She also urged pro-choice advocates to “keep our eye on the ball.”
“This is about something so serious and so personal and so disrespectful of women and here it is Mother’s Day, and the court has slapped women in the face in terms of their judgment about the size and timing of their families,” said Ms. Pelosi. “The fact is, let’s keep our eye on the ball. The ball is in the court of those justices.”