Nancy Pelosi Describes Herself as a ‘Devout’ Catholic Who Grew Up in a ‘Pro-Life Family’
Pelosi made her comments at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, while being interviewed by Mark Updegrove, CEO and president of the LBJ Foundation.
WASHINGTON — U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D, Calif., spoke about being a “devout” Catholic in an on-stage discussion on Tuesday, while defending her staunch support of legalized abortion and arguing that the Supreme Court should not overturn Roe v. Wade — positions that place her sharply at odds with Church teaching.
“This [topic] really gets me burned up in case you didn't notice, because again I'm very Catholic, devout, practicing, all of that. They would like to throw me out. But I'm not going because I don't want to make their day,” the California Democrat said.
Pelosi made her comments at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, while being interviewed by Mark Updegrove, CEO and president of the LBJ Foundation. The topic was “the state of democracy at home and abroad, as well as [the] House Democrats’ legislative agenda,” according to Pelosi’s YouTube channel.
The LBJ Presidential Library maintains records and archives of President Johnson’s political career, while promoting his legacy. The library is supported by the foundation.
When asked about the future of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion nationwide, Pelosi praised the House’s success in passing a bill for the codification of Roe. That “codification,” which ultimately failed in the Senate, came in the form of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which recognized a “statutory right” to abortion, blocking state abortion regulations and removing restrictions on pre-viability abortions.
“Of course, we haven't passed it in the Senate. But we never, as I say, we never give up in that regard because we do think that the codification of Roe v. Wade would be a really important protection against the court,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said that she had five children in six years and one week and often reminds “the other side” that “when you have five children in six years and one week, then we'll talk about this OK?”
Abortion was not right for Pelosi, she said, but “it's not up to me to say what's right for somebody else. [Pointing at the crowd] Nor is it right for you, nor is it right for the Supreme Court. This has been a precedent of the court. It should be upheld by the court.”
Pelosi said that she respects other people’s opinions “about how they see the law and their own personal lives,” but added that “these are people who don’t believe in governance.”
“They don't believe in government protecting the environment, they don't believe in government protecting people's rights or voting rights or anything like that. But they really are big-time government in your bedroom. Whether it's a woman's right to choose, LGBTQ, whatever it is, all of a sudden, there they are,” she said.
“Again it isn't about what is your religious belief,” the speaker said. “It's what is the right of people to make their own decisions about the sizing and time or if they are going to have a family.”
“This really gets me burned up, in case you didn't notice, because again I'm very Catholic, a devout, practicing, all of that. They would like to throw me out. But I'm not going because I don't want to make their day,” she said.
Pelosi said that abortion access is fundamental to respect women and families and questioned why “somebody in Washington D.C. should be deciding the size and timing of your family and the rest.”
She said she wishes that elections would not “be about a woman’s right to choose,” but noted that elections have consequences, and said that “you probably want to make decisions about who you vote for in the elections when it comes to this very sad situation.”
Toward the end of the event, Pelosi was asked who her role model was and she named her mother, Annunciata M. "Nancy" D'Alesandro, while speaking about her Catholic faith.
“Well, my mother was my main role model because, in our family, we were raised in a very Catholic family. So it was very Catholic, devoutly Catholic, proud of our Italian-American heritage, fiercely patriotic, staunchly Democratic. But the first three we had a lot in common with many people [Catholic, Italian-American, and patriotic] and then sometimes it would be that division there” when it came to politics, she said.
Pelosi said that although her family believed in separation of church and state, their Catholic faith motivated them to care about people.
While mentioning another role model in the Congress, the late Rep. Lindy Boggs, D-La., Pelosi said that while her and Boggs were on the same side of the aisle, they were on the opposite side of the “choice issue.”
“We were on the opposite side of the choice issue. She was a staunch Democrat. But [she was from] Louisiana and she was like my family," Pelosi said.
"I came from a pro-life family myself. They wish I would temper my remarks sometimes but that's not going to be happening," she said. "So I think they gave up on that a long time ago.”