The annual march of abortion opponents received its most significant endorsements this year, with Vice President Mike Pence addressing the gathering and President Donald Trump tweeting support.
“Life is winning again in America,” Pence, the highest-ranking elected official ever to address the march, told the crowd gathered under the Washington Monument on Friday.
The March for Life has been held every year since the US Supreme Court ruled abortion was legal in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Pence is the first sitting vice president to address the march.
“Our president is a man with broad shoulders and a big heart,” Pence told the marchers, adding that Trump will appoint a judge to the vacancy on the Supreme Court who would “uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in the Constitution.” The first of those liberties, Pence pointed out, was life.
Trump was not at the march himself, but tweeted out a message of support earlier in the day. He is meeting with the British Prime Minister Theresa May, the first foreign leader to visit Washington since Trump’s inauguration.
The vice-president told the cheering crowd that the Trump administration intended to cut federal funding to abortion providers and direct it to providers of healthcare for women.
“We will not rest until we restore the culture of life in America for ourselves and our posterity,” Pence said.
However, Pence also urged the marchers to champion their cause through love, compassion and gentleness, rather than anger or confrontation.
“Compassion is overcoming convenience and hope is defeating despair,” he said.
Trump’s campaign manager and now adviser Kellyanne Conway also addressed the marchers, reminding them that Trump and Pence’s commitment to opposing abortion during the campaign “showed the nation that courage and commitment can overcome indifference and insults.”
“We hear you. We see you,” Conway told the crowd.