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Pelosi says Supreme Court "slapped women in the face" with draft opinion in abortion case

Pelosi: Supreme Court "slapped women in the face"
Pelosi says Supreme Court "slapped women in the face" with draft opinion in abortion case 09:47

Washington — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday harshly criticized the Supreme Court for a draft opinion indicating a majority of justices may overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established the right to an abortion, saying it "slapped women in the face" by undermining their ability to make decisions about their families.

"This is about something so serious and so personal and so disrespectful of women," Pelosi said in an interview with "Face the Nation." "Here we are on Mother's Day, a week where the court has slapped women in the face in terms of disrespect for their judgments about the size and timing of their families."

Written by Justice Samuel Alito and circulated among the justices in February, the draft opinion calls Roe v. Wade "egregiously wrong." If finalized, it would overrule that decision and 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe and said states cannot enact regulations that impose an undue burden on a woman's right to an abortion before fetal viability.

The Supreme Court acknowledged the draft opinion was authentic, but noted it doesn't represent a decision by the court or the final position of any of its members.

Disclosure of the document, leaked from an institution that closely guards its secrets, sent shockwaves through Washington and sparked protests nationwide. President Biden called on Congress to pass legislation bolstering abortion rights, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the upper chamber will vote to advance a bill enshrining the right to an abortion established by Roe into federal law on Wednesday. 

That vote, though, is all but certain to fail, as 60 votes are needed for the measure to move forward. Democrats control 50 seats in the Senate, and two Republicans who support abortion rights, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have said a House-passed bill protecting abortion access goes too far. They have introduced their own measure enshrining current abortion protections into federal law, but Schumer said Democrats "are not looking to compromise something as vital as this."

Pelosi, too, said enshrining Roe into law is key for protecting a woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy.

"I don't know why they say they're for that and can't be for this legislation," she said of Collins and Murkowski. "Should we all have a discussion and find our common ground? Always, always. But you're either for the enshrinement of Roe v Wade, or you're not. It's the law of the land."

If Roe falls, Pelosi suggested other decisions by the Supreme Court are also at risk of being overturned.

"This is about respect for privacy. What's next? What's next, marriage equality? What's next, contraception?" she said.

The rule of law, Pelosi said, "should be respected."

"Women should be respected to make their own judgments with their family, their doctor, their God," the California Democrat said.

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