House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was lambasted online for reciting a poem in response to the demise of Roe v. Wade on Friday.
The Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the constitutional right to an abortion set off instantaneous protests nationwide. In Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Police Department initiated a full activation through Tuesday as large crowds rallied outside the Supreme Court.
Amid this anguished mood, many abortion supporters found cold comfort in a poetry reading by Speaker Pelosi on the House floor.
The Speaker’s recitation of “I Have No Other Country,” by Israeli poet and lyricist Ehud Manor, went viral on Twitter with over 737,000 views.
“I am personally overwhelmed by this decision,” she said in the clip. “From time to time, I quote this poem by Ehud Manor.”
She recited, “I have no other country even though my land is burning. Only a word in Hebrew penetrates my veins, my soul, with an aching body and with a hungry heart. Here is my home. I will not be silent, for my country has changed her face. “
Pelosi repeated the line, “My country has changed her face,” pausing to look directly at the camera.
“I shall not give up on her, I shall remind her and sing into her ears until she opens her eyes,” she finished the poem, adding, “Clearly, we hope that the Supreme Court would open its eyes.”
Distraught internet viewers slammed the oration, decrying what they saw as “meaningless” theatrics in lieu of practical action.
“Worse than useless,” commented NASA scientist Peter Kalmus.
“Wait. Maybe they’ll add an interpretive dance too,” added a sarcastic user.
“I’m sure A POEM is exactly what is needed politically,” another agreed. “No strikes organized, no protests, a poem.”
Some Twitter users vented their frustration at Congress’ inability to codify Roe v. Wade.
“A f ** king poem? That’s the extent of your efforts?” a viewer demanded. “The Democrats had literal decades to codify abortion rights into the constitution and they just did not. Voting does not work. Direct action NOW.”
In a press release, Pelosi urged angry citizens to show their support for abortion rights in the voting booth.
“This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart-wrenching,” she said. “But make no mistake: the rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot this November.”
About 25 states are expected to outlaw abortion, 13 through immediate trigger bans. Less than 10 minutes after Roe v. Wade was struck down, Missouri became the first state to invoke a trigger law banning all abortions, except in the case of medical emergencies. Other states quickly confirmed they were following suit.
Newsweek reached out to Speaker Pelosi for comment.