Pelosi’s statement comes in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to leave the new Texas Heartbeat Act in place.
“What happened in the last [. . .] 36 hours or so has been stunning. The Supreme Court making the decision that it did not only disrespected women, it disrespected the Supreme Court and its former decision, its precedent that it established since Roe v. Wade,” said Pelosi.
“When we go back to Washington, we will be putting Roe v. Wade codification on the floor of the House to make sure that women everywhere have access to the reproductive health that they need. I say that as a mother of five children, and I respect everyone’s personal decisions.”
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35), who accompanied Pelosi at the Austin press conference, said he agreed with her.
“This is a real setback, I think,” said Doggett. “Justice Sotomayor’s dissent was so powerful regarding the disgrace of this court and the injustice to women all over the country.”
Under the law that was passed earlier this year but recently went into effect, abortions in Texas after the heartbeat of a pregnancy can be detected are effectively prohibited.
But instead of the government enforcing the regulation, the law opens the door for any citizen to sue those other than the mother who are involved in the abortion.
Pelosi called the workaround by allowing civil lawsuits “clever” and “very, very dangerous.”
“To codify Roe v. Wade, it would make a tremendous, tremendous difference. And that is where our focus will be,” said Pelosi. “And [. . .] we’ll have an amendment to it to make sure it captures the, shall we say, action taken in Texas that made it, that makes it difficult to explain, but nonetheless we will mitigate for that damage that they’re causing here as well.”
The speaker said that she will be working with the president “in terms of a whole government response.”
“And that will really just mean increasing some of what we had done in the past that was curtailed, so we say, in recent years,” said Pelosi.
“We have to be very prayerful about this. This is so personal for people. This is about who they are.”
Legislation as far-reaching as a plan to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law so as to nullify Texas’ new abortion law and others like it will still face difficulty in the narrowly Democrat-controlled Congress, though.
With an even split in the U.S. Senate, such a proposal may come to a halt by the vote of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has taken pro-life positions before, and the upper chamber is all but certain to lack the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.