By Justin Sink - 07/18/13 11:31 AM EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed Republican lawmakers in Washington and in statehouses across the country for attempting to pass new laws restricting abortion rights, saying they needed a lesson on "the birds and the bees."
"What is at risk is the discretion of a woman to make judgments about the size and time, timing of her family," Pelosi told MSNBC. "It's respect for the judgment of women about what is good for them, for their families, their health, which is important to their families."
Pelosi added, "The reality is that people in our country do practice birth control and use contraception."
"I don't know if my colleagues need a lesson on the birds and the bees. I really don't get it," Pelosi said.
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Pelosi, who is Catholic, said the laws would result in the shuttering of abortion clinics that also provided important women's health services and access to contraception.
"This is women's health, reproductive part of us is part of our health, and-and, especially young women," the House's top Democrat said. "How can they say that we're not going to be doing contraception or we're not going to be doing family planning? And so people focus on the most extreme cases in terms of terminating a pregnancy."
Abortion rights activists in Texas say new legislation passed during a special session earlier this month could lead to 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics to close. In North Carolina, 15 of the 16 abortion clinics do not immediately comply with a new law passed July 11.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is expected to sign the state's new abortion law on Thursday. The state legislature passed it during a special session after an initial effort was blocked after a 13-hour filibuster by Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, which attracted national attention.
The House earlier this month also passed a 20-week abortion ban and GOP Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Mike Lee (Utah) are looking to sponsor a Senate version.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he would be "happy" to take a look at the bill, but it is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled upper chamber and would likely be vetoed by President Obama.