Vice President Mike Pence and White House aide Kellyanne Conway spoke today, as did Karen Pence, at the annual March for Life in Washington DC. Media coverage of the event is expected to be much lower than what was seen for the leftist Women’s March on Washington of January 21, however. Pence said he welcomed the marchers on behalf of President Trump. "It's the best day I've seen for the March of LIfe, I must say." Citing the right to life listed in the US Constitution, he said "Life is winning today," while saying that the president asked him to speak to the gathering. In advance of the March, Trump tweeted that he gives it "my full support."
In years past, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush phoned in greetings and comments to the rally. In contrast, on his first day in office, Barack Obama repealed, on his first full work day in office in 2009, rules that restricted federal funding for international organizations such as Planned Parenthood that promote or provide abortions in foreign countries, thus annulling a main plank in George W. Bush's social policy architecture.
The executive order that Mr. Obama signed reverses one of the first measures enacted by Mr. Bush when he took over the White House eight years ago and capped an opening-week flurry of action intended to signal a sharp break from the past in domestic and foreign arenas.
“For the past eight years, they have undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning in developing countries,” Mr. Obama said of the restrictions. “For these reasons, it is right for us to rescind this policy and restore critical efforts to protect and empower women and promote global economic development.”
Pence promised that Trump will announce next week a Supreme Court nominee in the tradition of the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Additionally, he said that the Administration will work with Congress to eliminate taxpayer support for abortion and instead dedicate it to healthcare. At then end of the speech, the crowd could be heard to cheer "USA! USA! USA!" Some bore aloft placards that read "Babies lives matter."
Pence was followed by the Catholic Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, as well as representatives of Orthodox Christian churches.
Today, thousands of prolife advocates assembled at the Washington Monument where they will hear Pence speak. He will be the first vice president to address the march in its history. No president has ever spoke in person to the rally. However, in years past, both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have phoned in their greetings.
Pence has long been a favorite among pro-life advocates. The former governor of Indiana has called himself an “evangelical Catholic,” and while serving in the governorship signed some of the strictest provisions for preserving human life.
The Washington Post, in reporting on the event, continued to refer to the organizers as “abortion opponents” or “anti-abortion” rather than ashow the “prolife” marchers refer to themselves: a standard practice in establishment media when reporting on the abortion issue.
Tens of thousands of people are expected at the events. The march will end up on the steps of the Supreme Court. March organizers expect an uptick in numbers. Many express approval of President Trump, who only days ago acted to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, the world’s biggest provider of abortion and contraception.
The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching --- you have my full support!
Jeanne Mancini, who presides over the March for Life, issued four demands to Trump and Congressional Republicans:
● Appoint a pro-life justice to the Supreme Court.
● Make the Hyde Amendment into a permanent law rather than the one-year provision that has been extended each year from 1976 to the present. It would ban most abortions in the US
● Pass a law banning abortion nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
● Stop all federal funding for Planned Parenthood unless the organization were to somehow stop performing abortions.
While for decades the march was quite strongly based on Catholic participation, evangelical Christians are an increasing presence. However, according to the Pew Research Center, nearly 70 percent of white evangelicals think that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, while 54 percent of Catholics say that abortion should be legal, according to the Pew Research Center.