“Let me repeat: no one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it. The right to life is a fundamental—the most fundamental—human right, and Catholics do not oppose fundamental human rights,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a statement.
Cordileone is the archbishop of Pelosi’s home diocese.
Pelosi was asked during a press conference earlier in the day why Democrats have declined to allow a vote on a bill that would block taxpayer-funded abortions.
She said access to abortion is a health issue for many American women, “especially those in lower-income situations and in different states, and it is something that has been a priority for many of us a long time.”
“As a devout Catholic and mother of five in six years, I feel that God blessed my husband and me with our beautiful family the five children in six years, almost to the day. But it’s not up to me to dictate that that’s what other people should do. And it’s an issue of fairness and justice for poor women in our country,” she also said.
Abortion is the ending of a pregnancy, or the termination of an unborn baby. Critics say the procedure is akin to murder while proponents claim the mother’s life and wellbeing takes priority over the fetus.
Over 619,000 abortions took place in 2018, according to a surveillance system run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That amounted to 11.3 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. Abortions are available in every state due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, though some states have imposed various restrictions on when the procedure can be done.
Cordileone condemned Pelosi’s remarks.
“To use the smokescreen of abortion as an issue of health and fairness to poor women is the epitome of hypocrisy: what about the health of the baby being killed? What about giving poor women real choice, so they are supported in choosing life? This would give them fairness and equality to women of means, who can afford to bring a child into the world,” he said.
“It is people of faith who run pro-life crisis pregnancy clinics; they are the only ones who provide poor women life-giving alternatives to having their babies killed in their wombs. I cannot be prouder of my fellow Catholics who are so prominent in providing this vital service. To them I say: you are the ones worthy to call yourselves ‘devout Catholics!’”
Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, Catholic bishops in the United States approved the drafting of a document that may rebuke her, President Joe Biden, and other prominent Catholics who support abortion despite the faith’s teachings.
Biden was denied communion in 2019 over his support of abortion.
Cordileone said earlier this year that he discussed with Pelosi her abstaining from receiving communion because of her position on abortion.