Pelosi on Gosnell, late-term abortion, and faith: This is sacred ground to me

An instant classic from John McCormack. John thinks her “sacred ground” comment at the end is a reference to late-term abortion; I think he’s giving her too much credit in assuming that she’s making a coherent, if reprehensible, point. This looks to me like she was caught completely off-guard by the question and was scrambling to get away from it, which is surprising given that just yesterday a House committee approved Trent Franks’s bill banning most abortions nationwide after 22 weeks. Last month Pelosi called the facts of the Gosnell case “really disgusting” while remaining vague about precisely which parts of it disgusted her and which parts were kinda sorta acceptable. Was it the filthy conditions at Gosnell’s clinic that endangered his patients’ health that appalled her, or was it Gosnell slicing the spines of live-born babies and then dumping the remains into shoeboxes and toilets? The ideal answer is “both.” Is that Pelosi’s answer?

Watch the clip. If what Gosnell did to late-term fetuses was so disgusting, why isn’t a ban on abortion after 22 weeks okay? An honest answer would be that she has no real objection to what he did to the babies, only to the unsanitary way in which he practiced. A slightly more politic answer would be that she objects to killing the babies if they somehow emerge alive after the initial abortion attempt, but that would open up a can of worms — why is death in the womb by poison okay but not death by scalpel 10 minutes and 10 inches of physical space later? If Gosnell had sliced their spines while inside the womb, would that be okay? Why does the method of death change the morality of the act? Is she making some sort of “cruel and unusual punishment” distinction for different forms of infanticide? Pelosi doesn’t want to have to deal with any of that, and she really doesn’t want to see headlines tomorrow with her name and Gosnell’s side by side, so here she is running away from the question as fast as she can. The bit about “sacred ground” at the end, I think, isn’t a specific reference to anything; it’s just her way of invoking her faith vis-a-vis life issues so that she can claim the question is offensive to her religion or something and therefore she doesn’t have to answer. She’s dodging by any means necessary because, unlike all but the most hardcore abortion warriors, she won’t defend her policy preference here honestly and without euphemisms.

Exit question for Pelosi-watchers: Is there any policy subject on which she thinks the Democratic agenda conflicts with Catholic teachings? It’d be one thing if she said yeah, there’s tension on some issues, but as a public servant she needs to do what she thinks is best for the country rather than what her faith says. But the “sacred ground” bit at the end here does, a la McCormack, carry a hint that it’s somehow offensive to her as a Catholic to ask her to back a bill that bans late-term abortion(!). Nor is that the first time that she’s invoked the Church as a defense to a policy that the Church itself opposes. When the contraception mandate from HHS came down, she emphasized that she was sticking with her fellow Catholics in supporting it, the view of the Church’s hierarchy notwithstanding, and dismissed the lawsuits by a group of U.S. Catholic bishops as being not really important because, after all, the Pope hasn’t spoken ex cathedra on the subject. If she wants to jettison her religion in crafting policy, it’s fine by this atheist, but then let’s lay off the “sacred ground” garbage, okay?

Update: People on Twitter are asking a good question: Why is there so much laughter from the press corps after Pelosi dodges McCormack by accusing him of having an agenda?

Update: Commenter “RadClown” says this is basically the “Chewbacca defense” to late-term abortion. Bingo.

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