The only thing I have to add is that as a former constituent of Mrs. Pelosi, until my blessed move to KC last year, I know that she has made the same misrepresentation of Church teaching over and over again in San Francisco. And she has also been corrected in letter and personal conversation with lay friends of mine who know her.
And yet, she still says it. So I can't see how her reiteration of the falsehood is simply an indicator of a lack of knowledge, rather than an intentional misleading of the public.
Here's the USCCB's response to Speaker Pelosi:
Bishops respond to House Speaker Pelosi’s misrepresentation of Church teaching against abortion
WASHINGTON--Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, have issued the following statement:
In the course of a “Meet the Press” interview on abortion and other public issues on August 24, 2008, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi misrepresented the history and nature of the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church against abortion.
The Church has always taught that human life deserves respect from its very beginning and that procured abortion is a grave moral evil. In the Middle Ages, uninformed and inadequate theories about embryology led some theologians to speculate that specifically human life capable of receiving an immortal soul may not exist until a few weeks into pregnancy. While in canon law these theories led to a distinction in penalties between very early and later abortions, the Church’s moral teaching never justified or permitted abortion at any stage of development.
These mistaken biological theories became obsolete over 150 years ago when scientists discovered that a new human individual comes into being from the union of sperm and egg at fertilization. In keeping with this modern understanding, the Church has long taught that from the time of conception (fertilization), each member of the human species must be given the full respect due to a human person, beginning with respect for the fundamental right to life.