‘My country changed her face’: Pelosi responds to abortion ruling with Israeli poem

US House speaker reads Ehud Manor poem after seismic Supreme Court decision; top Democrat previously quoted poet after Jan. 6 Capitol attack, met with his widow in Israel

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reacts to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reacts to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The top Democrat in the US Congress quoted an Israeli poet and songwriter as she blasted the conservative-led US Supreme Court’s “outrageous and heart-wrenching” decision overturning the federally-guaranteed right to abortion Friday.

In an emotional news conference, an angered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi quoted Ehud Manor’s poem “I Have No Other Land” (“Ein Li Eretz Aheret” in Hebrew), which she previously read during a speech in the wake of the January 6 attack.

“I have no other country even though my land is burning. Only a word in Hebrew penetrates my veins and my soul, with an aching body and with a hungry heart,” she read.

“Here is my home. I will not be silent, for my country has changed her face,” a clearly emotional Pelosi said, before repeating “my country has changed her face.”

“I shall not give up on her. I will remind her and sing into her ears until she opens her eyes,” Pelosi said.

“Clearly, we hope the Supreme Court will open its eyes,” Pelosi concluded.

Written in 1982 when a right-wing Likud government was waging a controversial war in Lebanon, the song speaks of Manor’s love for Hebrew but features a pledge to “not remain silent and sing” to a country that “has changed her face.”

Manor’s widow, Ofra Fuchs, said in 2015 that it was intended as a left-wing protest song.

While visiting Israel in February, Pelosi was hosted by President Isaac Herzog for a meeting also attended by Fuchs.

Herzog said he had quoted Manor’s “I Have No Other Land” to Pelosi in 2016 when they were both experiencing political troubles. She wrote it down on a napkin and eventually quoted it to Congress.

The US Supreme Court on Friday struck down the right to abortion in a seismic ruling that shredded five decades of constitutional protections and prompted several right-leaning states to impose immediate bans.

Pelosi accused the court of delivering a “slap in the face” to women seeking to make their own decisions about their reproductive freedom.

“This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart-wrenching, but make no mistake: it’s all on the ballot in November,” Pelosi said.

An abortion rights activist wears tape reading ‘2nd Class Citizen’ on their mouth as they protest outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The high court’s six Republican appointees overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision that enshrined a woman’s right to an abortion, saying that individual states can now permit or restrict the procedure themselves. The three Democratic appointees dissented.

Pelosi told reporters the move was part of a wider crackdown by Republicans on reproductive freedom.

“With Roe now out of their way, radical Republicans are charging ahead with their crusade to criminalize health freedom. In the Congress, Republicans are plotting a nationwide abortion ban,” she said.

“In the states, Republicans want to arrest doctors for offering reproductive care and women for terminating a pregnancy. [Republican] extremists are even threatening to criminalize contraception, as well as in-vitro fertilization and post-miscarriage care,” she said.

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