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A Lesson From the Past

Every informed American knows who Nancy Pelosi is. Elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2006, she is the most powerful and highly ranked woman in the history of U.S. politics (pending this year’s presidential elections, which had yet to take place at the time of this writing). And anybody who knows anything about Nancy Pelosi knows that she is unasham­edly and unapologetically pro-abortion. Her congressional voting record has earned her a 100-percent rating from the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (a.k.a. NARAL Pro-Choice America), and, by contrast, a zero-percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee. Since 1999 she has twice voted against a ban on partial-birth abortions, twice against making it a federal crime to harm a child in the womb while committing other crimes, twice against barring interstate transport of minors to procure an abortion; she has also voted against eliminating abortion funding as part of U.S. foreign aid, against funding U.S. healthcare providers who don’t give out abortion information, and against parental notification of minors seeking abortions.

Despite her extreme anti-life advocacy, Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, identifies herself as a Catholic.

Yet somehow, Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco “Pelosi’s archbishop” had the audacity to claim ignorance about her abortion views. In a February 2007 interview with a San Francisco radio station, Archbishop Niederauer said, “We haven’t had the opportunity to talk about the life issues…. I don’t believe I am in a position to say what I understand her stand to be….” This, even though one of the interviewers had just explained to him what her stance is, saying, “Nancy Pelosi [is] a Catholic from San Francisco…. She is not only pro-choice, but she would be someone who would be working to try to keep abortion legal.” Perhaps the Archbishop is hard of hearing. We’d sure like to think he is ” the alternative ain’t so pretty.

When asked in the interview whether there is “room for disagreement with Church doctrine by Catholics,” particularly by someone who “believes in a woman’s right to have an abortion,” Archbishop Niederauer responded, “I think we have to say that there is a teaching of the Church on abortion…and it may be that there are those who struggle with that teaching. But, we cannot say, well, you can believe anything you want.” To which one of the interviewers responded, “But what does that mean?”

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