Vice President Mike Pence urged the pro-life marchers gathered at the 46th annual March for Life on Friday in Washington, D.C., “to stand strong” and take heart that “life is winning in America once again” under President Donald Trump’s leadership.
The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in January 1973 made abortion legal in all 50 states. The March for Life takes place each January around that anniversary to decry abortion and urge elected officials to fight for the right to life.
This year, thousands of marchers gathered in Washington, D.C., and many bore signs reading, “Defund Planned Parenthood,” “I am the pro-life generation,” “Pray to End Abortion” and “Choose love, Choose life.”
The marchers enthusiastically greeted Pence as he and second lady Karen Pence took the stage to defend the pro-life movement and the activists who pushed back after the Supreme Court “turned its back on” the sanctity of life.
“We gather here because we stand for life. We gather here because we stand for compassion. And we gather here because we believe as our Founders did that we are all of us born and unborn ‘endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.’ And first among these rights is the right to life,” Pence said.
“Because of all of you gathered here, all those you represent and all those who have gone before, we know in our heart of hearts that life is winning in America once again,” Pence also told the crowd.
The vice president urged the pro-life marchers “to stand strong” and to “be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have” by being “prepared to defend life.”
But in their defense of life, also Pence called upon them to do so “with gentleness and respect.”
“They will attack you. They will question your hearts to silence others. But don’t listen to them. Listen to the truth and know that He who said, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you’ also said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ as you stand for His creation, as you stand for the right to life,” Pence said.
The vice president ensured the marchers they have “an unwavering ally in this vice president, in our family, and you have a champion in the president of the United States of America.”
“From the White House to your house, life is winning in America once again,” Pence declared. “But we gather here today because we know we still have much work to do. So we urge you to stand strong. Stand with that love and compassion as you stand for life. And know that we will stand with you until that great day comes where we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”
After Pence spoke, Trump spoke to the marchers via video — and promised them that “as president, I will always defend the first right in our Declaration of Independence, the right to life.”
Trump became the first sitting president last year to address the March for Life rally live from the White House Rose Garden. This year, he informed the marchers he had sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) informing her that he would veto any legislation changing his administration’s pro-life policies.
Tom McClusky, president of March for Life Action, said in a statement after Trump’s announcement, “We are so grateful to hear directly from President Trump today that he will be steadfast in his commitment to protect the most institutional of pro-life provisions.”
“President Trump and the Republican Party remain committed to standing up for the most vulnerable and voiceless Americans.”
“Many of the policies that Speaker Pelosi threatens, for example the Hyde Amendment, are bipartisan pro-life protections supported by the American consensus,” McClusky said. “New Marist polling released this month shows that the majority of Americans would prohibit tax dollars from paying for abortions with taxpayer dollars and do not support forcing health care professionals to participate in an abortion.”
And Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said on Friday in a statement, “We are grateful to everyone participating in today’s March for Life in support of our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
“As passionate activists march for our nation’s return to a culture of life, President Trump and the Republican Party remain committed to standing up for the most vulnerable and voiceless Americans,” McDaniel added.
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