Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other House Democrats speak during a press conference on the House steps Friday after the Senate failed to codify Roe vs. Wade earlier this week. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
May 13 (UPI) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday joined female Democratic members of Congress in passionate defense abortion and reproductive rights, urging Americans to politically mobilize beginning this weekend.
"As Republicans seek to control and criminalize women's reproductive health freedoms, Democrats are fighting to enshrine Roe vs. Wade into law," Pelosi said during a news conference on the steps of the House of Representatives.
She said Republicans in the Senate lined up in lockstep with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump to vote to "rip away the constitutional right to health freedom for American women."
Pelosi said Republicans want a nationwide ban on abortion. And she asserted they won't stop with stripping abortion rights away from millions of American women.
"Make no mistake. Once Republicans shred long-standing precedent and privacy rights, they intend to wage an all-out assault on more of our rights, including access to contraception and marriage equality," Pelosi said.
Rep. Barbara Lee, D.-Calif., said rallies for abortion rights will be held this weekend on the National Mall in Washington D.C., and in cities across the country.
"We're not going to be denied the right to make decisions about our own bodies," Lee said. adding that no Republican senator voted to consider legislation that protects "our rights to make our own reproductive health decisions."
A Senate vote to codify Roe vs. Wade into federal law lost 51-49 with every Democrat except West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin voting for abortion rights, while every Republican voted against those rights for women.
Lee said that for many women, the impending loss of abortion rights is personal.
"I've personally experienced the fear, the stigma, the trauma, the despair of being denied care that you need," she said.
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., who co-chairs the Pro-Choice Caucus with Lee, urged everyone to mobilize and rally politically starting with the weekend rallies.
"It's the beginning of the march to the November elections," Lee said.
She said the 218-211 House vote to pass the Women's Health Protection Act and put Roe vs. Wade abortion rights into federal law was the most support for abortion rights ever in Congress.
Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York said that a Republican minority has worked for decades to roll back the rights of women. She said that minority has worked systematically to politicize the Supreme Court by packing it with "activist ideologues."