Pelosi Remarks at NARAL 50th Anniversary Dinner

Sep 26, 2019
Press Release
Contact: Speaker’s Press Office,
202-226-7616

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at NARAL’s 50th Anniversary Dinner.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
 
Speaker Pelosi.  Good evening –
 
[Applause]
 
Thank you all very much!
 
Aren’t you impressed –
 
Crowd.   I love you!
 
Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you, I love you too – thank you!
 
[Laughter and Applause]
 
Good evening everyone.
 
Thank you, Congresswoman Stevens – isn’t she impressive?
 
[Applause]
 
No wonder her classmates elected her President of the Class.  We are so proud of her.
 
But, as she mentioned, we have this tribe of women and they are a tribe, increased in the Congress.
 
[Applause]
 
I think you know that there are a record number of women now in the Congress, 106 women.  The first time it’s over 100.  91 of them are Democrats.
 
[Applause]
 
Because we made a decision and because you helped.  Thank you NARAL!  We are thrilled to be here with all of you and with our Freshman Class Co-President, Haley Stevens, again.
 
[Applause]
 
And with other leaders in the Congress who are fighting for women’s rights, including Congressional woman – Congresswoman Barbara Lee, tonight’s outstanding Champion of Choice Awardee!
 
[Applause]
 
And we are all overjoyed to see our friend and former colleague, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
 
[Applause]
 
Glad to be here with the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez.
 
[Applause]
 
And let us all salute one of the most persistent, relentless, dissatisfied forces in the fight for women’s freedoms: NARAL President Ilyse Hogue!
 
[Applause]
 
Thank you also to Brina Milikowsky and the Board for their leadership.  To all of NARAL, thank you.
 
[Applause]
 
Isn’t it an honor for all of us to be here with Secretary Hillary Clinton?
 
[Applause]
 
We thank her – thank you, Secretary Clinton, for your work to empower and inspire countless, an endless number of women and girls all around the world and in our country to stand up for their rights.  Congratulations to Secretary Clinton for her Lifetime Achievement Award!
 
[Applause]
 
On behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, as Speaker of the House, it is a privilege to join NARAL to commemorate 50 extraordinary years of progress.  Tonight, we celebrate the millions of women and men over the years who have organized and mobilized, advocated and educated, who have made the difference in the fight for women’s freedoms in America!  And, that’s an applause line –
 
[Applause]
 
As we honor the historic achievements of NARAL’s proud past, we renew our pledge to build to a future of greater freedom for all women and families.  In this fight, our Democratic House Majority stands united with you: a Majority that I’m thrilled to say is more than 60 percent women, people of color, LGBTQ.
 
[Applause]
 
Our Caucus is very diverse in geography, gender, gender identification, generationally, geographically, philosophically, ethnically – in every way.  And Barbara will attest to that.  And, I say to them, ‘our diversity is our strength, our unity is our power.’
 
[Applause]
 
The unified leadership of NARAL and the House is urgently needed at this precarious time for women’s health care and freedoms.  Today, as we know, an all-out assault on women’s reproductive freedoms is sweeping the nation, as Republicans seek to impose abortion bans on millions of women in dozens of states.  
 
These bans violate the Constitution.  They ignore basic morality.  They imperil the health and well-being of countless women.  And they showcase a radical Republican agenda that will stop at nothing to take away a woman’s right to make her own decisions upon her – about her health, her body, and the timing and size of her family.
 
[Applause]
 
But, we all know the truth: every woman, everywhere has the constitutional and moral right to basic reproductive health care.  The overwhelming majority of the American people stand with us in supporting a woman’s right to make her own choices about her health, her body and her family.
 
We’ve won in the court of opinion.  Now, we must continue to win in the court of law!  We will fight to defend Roe v. Wade using every tool in our disposal.
 
And, we will not stop there.  Together, we will unify – in unity – we will continue not only to defend, but to expand freedom for women and families in America.
 
Every woman should have the freedom to make her own choices about her body and family, no matter her circumstances or means.  It’s about respect.  It’s about respect.
 
That is why, together, we will defeat the Administration’s ‘gag rule’ – and will fight until all women have access to affordable contraception, critical health information and preventive health care.  That is the main opportunity. 
 
Every woman should have the freedom to access basic health care without the interference of her employer or her insurance company.
 
That is what we did in the Affordable Care Act.  The Affordable Care Act –
 
[Applause]
 
The Affordable Care Act – one of the theories of it was: no longer was being a woman a pre-existing medical condition. 
 
That is why we will continue to fight the Administration’s outrageous contraception rules.  And we will strengthen the protections of the Affordable Care Act.
 
And every woman should have the freedom to pursue opportunity and prosperity for herself and her family, which is why House Democrats reversed years of inaction to pass Rosa DeLauro’s Paycheck Fairness Act – equal pay for equal work — and we continue to fight to lower health care costs and bigger paychecks for all.
 
In the face of the challenges ahead, we know our mantra: we don’t agonize, we organize.  We don’t agonize, we organize!
 
[Applause]
 
Reproductive rights are human rights, and we won’t stop until they are safe.  And, we will organize people across the country to make sure that happens.
 
Standing together on the shoulders of the advocates and activists who came before, before us — I mean, before many of you, okay?  I was there.
 
[Laughter]
 
We will forge a brighter future for ourselves, for our daughters and for generations to come.
 
And let me just say, I thank you so much for the warm welcome.
 
This is a very sad time for our country.  I say this to you with great sorrow and prayerfulness.  We are in a place that I never thought we would be.
 
I never thought that we would see a President take the actions that he has.  In fact, I don’t think our Founders ever thought a President would do such a thing.  And they built great guardrails into our Constitution to make sure that anyone who attempted to so, saw the boundaries.  But, that has not held this President back.
 
And, I know that this is not a political occasion, and I don’t think the action that is required is political maneuver. It’s not about politics, it’s not about partisanship.  It’s about patriotism.
 
[Applause]
 
It’s about –
 
[Applause]
 
Thank you.
 
It’s about protecting our Constitution.
 
You know, we all pray for our country, it’s why at the close of many meetings we say, ‘God bless you all, God bless America.’  Prayerfully, we want God to bless America, but we have to recognize: what is America?
 
America is our Constitution, the beauty of it: a system of checks and balances, separation of power, separate branches of government – co-equal as a check on each other, the freedom to continue in our Constitution, and to – thank God – they put in to amend our Constitution.
 
What is America?  America is our beautiful land, from sea to shining sea.  They’re destroying to the Constitution, degrade our environment, denial of climate.
 
What is America?  It’s who we are.  Unless you are born to be a Native American, which is a blessing to you and to all who know you, and to our country, but by and large we are a nation of immigrants.
 
They denigrate – disloyal to the Constitution, degrading to the environment, denigrating to our people and devaluing of the value what is America.  This great country.  And how we care about people and the sense of community that drives us into public service for some, and to support all women for others.
 
So, again, we’re not agonizing.  We’re organizing.  We will not take – this is not a celebration to say we’ve taken this step.  It is a really sad step for us to have to take.  But, sadly, we had no choice.
 
So, I thank all of you for your courage and leadership on behalf of American women.
 
God bless all of you, God bless America.


# # #