COLUMBUS — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she intended no pun, but that it accurately captured her feelings.
"My heart breaks for this 'heartbeat' bill," the leader of U.S. House Democrats said of Ohio's pending law — now under challenge in court — to forbid abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
"It's very, very sad," she told the editorial board of The Columbus Dispatch during a 75-minute interview on Friday prior to speaking before about 1,200 people at the Ohio Democratic Party Legacy Dinner fundraiser at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
"Many people don't even know they are expecting at that point," Pelosi said of when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected, generally around six weeks, and which opponents said will eliminate 90 percent of abortions. "And, no exception for rape or incest?"
The increasing number of laws to restrict abortion passed by Republican-ruled legislatures and governors around the country, including in Ohio, "is disrespectful to women" and targeted at overturning the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion, she said.
"I think Roe v. Wade is in a very dangerous situation," Pelosi said. "I wouldn't trust any of this in the hands of the courts the president has appointed," she said of Republican Donald Trump's appointment of conservative jurists.
The House speaker also hopes that an order issued by a three-judge U.S. District Court panel in Cincinnati ordering the state to produce a new congressional map will stand. Finding Ohio's map unconstitutionally gerrymandered to benefit Republicans, the judges ordered the legislature to come up with a new 2020 map by June 14. The state is seeking a stay of the order from the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Hopefully it will be soon and it will be fair ... just have it be objective, not political in any way," Pelosi said. "At least people will be choosing their politicians rather than the politicians choosing their people. That's just not right, whether it benefits Democrats or not."
Pelosi counseled patience for those lobbying for impeachment of Trump in the wake of the Mueller report that presented a potential case, but made no call, on whether he obstructed justice in attempting to derail the investigation. The Trump administration will not turn over the unredacted report or other information and has said it will not honor House subpoenas for testimony.
"There's a lot of pressure on me to impeach ... it's a very, very divisive thing to do and it's not something you do politically," but on the basis of facts, the speaker said.
Pelosi said she believes House Democrats "are on the right course" in building a case for the courts for the legal fight to come that Trump and his team are illegally resisting congressional oversight.
The speaker discounts speculation that Democrats will divert time and money from Ohio in next year's presidential election given Trump's solid win in 2016 and the strength he enjoys in the state. "Any party that would overlook Ohio does so at its peril," she said.