President Trump, as the first president to attend in person the March For Life in Washington, told thousands Friday that “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House” as he touted the number of pro-life initiatives his administration has implemented since he took office.
When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation. When we hold a newborn in our arms, we know the endless love that each child brings to a family,” the president continued. “When we watch a child grow we see the splendor that radiates from each human soul. One life changes the world. From my family and, I can tell you, I send love, and I send great, great love.”
He was greeted by thousands of protesters who chanted “four more years!” and “U-S-A!”
“Sadly the far-left is actively working to erase our God-given rights, shut down our faith-based charities, ban religious believers from the public square and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life,” Mr. Trump said.
The president highlighted his move to reinstate the Mexico City Policy that blocks federal funding for non-government organizations that provide abortion services, his nomination of 187 conservative judges to the federal bench, returning Title X funding to the states, and threatening to veto pro-abortion legislation from Congress.
Mr. Trump praised the busloads of college and high school students who traveled from across the country.
“Young people are the heart of the March for Life, and it’s your generation that is making America pro-family, pro-life nation,” he said.
“They are coming after me because I am fighting for you and we are fighting for those who have no voice and we will win because we know how to win,” Mr. Trump said.
He said Democrats have embraced the most extreme positions, specifically criticizing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and accusing him of being willing to “execute a baby after birth.”
“For years, every top Democrat in Congress now supports taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up to birth,” Mr. Trump said, drawing boos from the crowd, many adorned in blue March for Life hats and red Make America Great Again hats.
“To all of the moms here today: We celebrate you and we declare that mothers are heroes,” the president said. “Every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting.”
“Religious liberty has been under attack all over the world and frankly attacked in our nation, you see it better than anyone, but we are stopping it,” Mr. Trump said, noting how he threatened to withhold funding from universities that don’t protect freedom of speech and religion.
Kellyanne Conway, adviser to the president, and Secretary of Health of Human Services Alex Azar joined the president on the stage at the march.
Rally-goers held up signs that read: “Proud large clumps of cells standing for small clumps of cells” and “Hey Planned Parenthood — go fund yourself.”
Forty-seven years ago, protesters descended on the nation’s capital to protest the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which solidified a woman’s right to abortion.
This year the theme of the march is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.”
Vice President Mike Pence, via a video he sent from the Vatican, called the president a champion of the pro-life movement.
“Thanks to your support and the leadership of President Donald Trump, life is winning in America again,” Mr. Pence said.
“Life is winning through the compassion of caregivers and volunteers at pregnancy care centers across this country,” second lady Karen Pence said. “And life is winning through the generosity of millions of adoptive families who open their hearts and their homes to children in need and life is winning because of the witness of hundreds of thousands of Americans from every background who brave the cold to march for life.”
Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana told the protesters to contact their members of Congress to support the Born Alive Act, which would require health care providers to use the “proper degree of care” when a child survives an abortion.
“We have asked now over 80 times to bring it to the floor and [Nancy Pelosi] has blocked it every time,” Mr. Scalise said.
He said he is using a discharge petition to move around the House speaker, which requires 218 signatures from lawmakers.
“You marched here because you want to stand up for life,” Mr. Scalise said. “We aren’t just going to march, we are going to win this fight.”
Meanwhile, UltraViolet staged a counter-protest. A mobile billboard with the slogans of “Pro-Life is Pro-Hate,” “Abortion is Healthcare,” and “Abortion is Freedom” will circle the National Mall and the Renaissance Hotel throughout the day.
“Anti-abortion extremists are trying to gaslight the entire country with a ‘pro-woman’ theme at this year’s march,” said Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet. “In reality, there is nothing pro-woman about trying to control a person’s body and restricting someone’s fundamental right to choose with dangerous and deadly abortion bans.”
Michelle Kielar, 40, of Gowanda, New York, said she believes in a total ban on abortion and that doctors should be jailed for performing abortions.
“We need to hold doctors accountable because women are being manipulated,” Ms. Kielar said.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 75% of the people who get abortions are in poverty or low income. Ms. Kielar, an independent YouTube journalist, attributed that to abortion clinics strategically opening in high-poverty neighborhoods to manipulate them into abortion.
Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association, said, “violence isn’t the answer to poverty.”
Alternatively, she says she believes policies need to focus more on family to reduce abortions, such as more financial assistance for adoption, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s paid family leave plan, tax credit for families and student loan assistance.
“I think this is the most pressing civil rights issue of our day,” Ms. McGuire said. “I am here in solidarity with other Americans who feel the same way.”
As first lady of Louisiana Donna Edwards made her remarks, the march to the Supreme Court began.
Thousands of March for Life protesters walked down Madison Drive on their way to the Supreme Court to protest the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed a woman’s right to abortion.
However, because of barricades set up by police, the sidewalk space for marchers was a few feet wide, making it difficult for this large crowd to start the march. Many people were at a standstill.
Mary Kate Williams, a stay-at-home mom who travelled here from Tennessee said that the logistical challenges of the march don’t bother her.
“We are just kinda go with the flow. Mrs. Williams said. “We are here for the cause and if it a slow-moving process, that’s fine. It’s a wonderful cause. It’s worth every bit of suffering we have to endure from the cold.”
She said that she was in D.C. for the Women’s March and the March for Life has a different, more loving feel.
“This is one of the most important rights we have as human beings, and I think it’s kind of scary it’s not protected as much as it should be,” Mrs. Williams said. “This is also a wonderful march.T he gathering of this many people is one of the most love-filled peaceful and heartwarming gatherings of a political movement I have ever been a part of. “