Nancy Pelosi Supports Anti-Abortion Candidate, Despite Roe v. Wade Outcry

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is supporting an anti-abortion candidate who is set to face a tough primary runoff election on May 24 against a Democratic rival who has touted her pro-abortion stance.

Pelosi is backing Representative Henry Cuellar for the Democratic nomination in Texas' 28th congressional district, despite the fact he is the last anti-abortion Democrat in the House of Representatives.

That support comes amid the outcry about a leaked Supreme Court majority opinion on May 2 that appeared to show five of the nine justices are poised to overturn the landmark 1973 abortion decision in Roe v. Wade.

Cuellar has been a member of the House since 2005, but he failed to garner enough support to win the primary on March 2 and will now face a runoff on May 24.

His primary opponent, progressive and immigrant rights attorney Jessica Cisneros, has focused on Cuellar's views about abortion since the leak of the draft opinion and there is a strong possibility that Cisneros could defeat the congressman next week.

Following the leaked opinion, Cisneros called on the Democratic leadership to "withdraw their support of Henry Cuellar who is the last anti-choice Democrat in the House."

No withdrawal was forthcoming and Pelosi reiterated her support for Cuellar on March 10 at her weekly press conference. She was asked about potential ethics concerns after Cuellar's home and campaign office were raided by the FBI in January.

The exact reason for the raid isn't clear, but the congressman's attorney has said the FBI told Cuellar he isn't the target of an investigation, while the Democrat has denied any wrongdoing.

"I'm supporting Henry Cuellar, he's a valued member of our caucus," Pelosi said.

"The FBI has said he is not under investigation," the speaker added.

Pelosi was also asked about Cuellar's vote against the the Women's Health Protection Act of 2021, which would have codified abortion rights into federal law. He was the only Democrat to cast a "no" vote.

"I thought you were going to take it to choice or something," Pelosi said. "He is not pro-choice, but we didn't need him; we passed the bill with what we had."

Pelosi has been highly critical of the draft Supreme Court opinion and has focused much of her anger at anti-abortion Republicans.

"The Republican-appointed justices' reported votes to overturn Roe v Wade would go down as an abomination, one of the worst and most damaging decisions in modern history," she said on May 3, the day after the leaked draft was published.

Other Senior Backers

Pelosi is not the only senior Democrat who's backing Cuellar for re-election.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn campaigned for Cuellar in San Antonio earlier this month and Representative Hakeem Jeffries, who is chair of the House Democratic Caucus, has donated to Cuellar's campaign, according to a recent campaign finance report.

Cisneros has the backing of several progressive and pro-abortion groups as well as progressive Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal, head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Cisneros had brought in $4.5 million as of May 4, compared to the congressman's fundraising haul of $3.1 million. That financial advantage could potentially prove crucial in the closing days of the campaign.

Texas' 28th district has been reliably blue since it was created in 1993, so whoever wins the primary this month is almost guaranteed to win the election in November.

Newsweek has asked Nancy Pelosi's office for comment.

Nancy Pelosi Speaks About Roe v. Wade
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks in front of the steps to the House of Representatives on May 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. Pelosi is supporting an anti-abortion Democrat in a potentially close primary race. Win McNamee/Getty Images