Pelosi on abortion: 'This is not a rubber-stamp party'

Pelosi on abortion: 'This is not a rubber-stamp party'
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a Tuesday interview that the Democratic Party should not impose its view of abortion on its candidates. 

“This is the Democratic Party. This is not a rubber-stamp party,” Pelosi told The Washington Post.

ADVERTISEMENT
“I grew up Nancy D’Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic," she continued. "Most of those people — my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?”

Pelosi argued that abortion is “kind of fading as an issue” within the party and was doubtful that a hard-line anti-abortion candidate could win a Democratic presidential primary.

In a statement following the interview, spokesman Drew Hammill said Pelosi "discussed how the issue of abortion has 'faded' as an issue that divides Democrats given that the vast majority of Democrats in Congress are staunchly pro-choice.

"House Democrats recognize, while there are differences in the closest of families about deeply held personal beliefs, legislating those beliefs onto others is a complete non-starter."

In our caucus, one thing unifies us: our values about working families,” Pelosi told the Post. “Some people are more or less enthusiastic about this issue or that issue or that issue. They’ll go along with the program, but their enthusiasm is about America’s working families.”

Pelosi also suggested that the party may have lost voters by turning off people who supported the broader Democratic agenda but disagreed on social issues. 

"That's why Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP-Trump trade fight boils over with threat to cars Trump: Meetings on potential North Korea summit going 'very well' Freed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela MORE is president of the United States. Evangelicals and the Catholics. Anti-marriage equality, anti-choice. That's how he got to be president," Pelosi said. "Everything was trumped, literally and figuratively by that.”

But Pelosi's argument that the issue is fading from Democratic politics is in contrast to a recent dustup on the issue prompted by a Nebraska mayoral candidate.

The debate started after the Democratic National Committee faced criticism from women’s rights groups for inviting the candidate — who supported an anti-abortion measure in the past — to a Democratic unity tour event.

The debate over abortion comes as Democrats prepare to defend a handful of red-state Senate incumbents up for reelection in 2018. 

— Updated 12:44 a.m.