Continuing a tradition stretching back to 1974, tens of thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered Friday on the National Mall for the 12 p.m. rally leading up to the 45th annual March for Life. Participants then set off from Constitution Avenue between the Washington Monument and the Capitol at 1 p.m. and marched toward the Supreme Court until 3 p.m.
This year’s event featured speeches by Pam Tebow (NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s mom), House Speaker Paul Ryan and a few other members of Congress, religious leaders, and, of course, President Trump and Vice President Pence. It was the presidential speech from the White House Rose Garden – broadcast via satellite video to the rally goers on the Mall – that marked this year’s rally and march as different from all those that came before.
What is the March?
Billed as “the nation’s largest annual pro-life event,” the March for Life occurs every year on the anniversary of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion. The late Catholic activist Nellie Gray organized the first march one year later. It was initially intended to be one shot – but quickly grew into an annual event. Fox News reports:
“Here we are at the 45th year – we never anticipated that we would be here for so long. Today, we grieve the loss of life. But it’s also an enthusiastic time; we’re changing hearts and minds,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, told Fox News ahead of the event on Friday.
Speeches from the Rose Garden
The Trump administration broke with tradition last year when the president sent Vice President Mike Pence to address the march – the first time a sitting VP had done so. This year, both men gave brief speeches from the Rose Garden at the White House. It’s a symbolically significant choice of venue, as the group has in years past delivered individual roses to members of Congress. Both Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush spoke to the marchers via telephone, but Trump’s speech was the first of its kind.
I once argued that abortion is not a Constitutionally protected right. But never have I heard a better way of summing up that very argument than the words spoken by Mike Pence in the Rose Garden:
“More than 200 and 40 years ago, our founders wrote words that echoed through the ages. They declared these truths to be self-evident: that we are, each of us, endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Forty-five years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States turned its back on the unalienable right to life.”
That landmark decision changed the course of American history and resulted in the deaths of over 60 million unborn children to date. It is for this reason that anti-abortion activists – and the current administration – have worked so hard towards protecting the sanctity of life over the imagined right to kill as a matter of convenience.
One Year of Trump: Advancing the Cause of Life
In just his first year in office, President Trump has reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy – a Reagan era measure seeking to eliminate the funding of abortions overseas with U.S. tax money.
He signed a law back in April of 2017 that rolled back an Obama rule that protected federal funding for abortion providers, thereby granting individual states the right to withhold Title X Family Planning money – U.S. Taxpayer money – from funding abortions. And he supported the Pain CapableBill and urged the Senate to pass it (the House already did) and get it to him so he can sign it into law.
He has nominated over 100 judges – including the newest Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch. He signed an Executive Order protecting religious liberty on the National Day of Prayer, and just announced a new proposal to protect the conscience rights and religious freedoms of medical professionals objecting to the practice of abortion.
President Trump took a moment to brag about the economy, which is doing quite well. Unemployment, in general, is at a 17-year low – with an 18 year low for women and a record low for both Hispanics and African Americans. While that, at first, might just sound like bragging, it does play a role in abortion statistics – just ask any pro-abortionist; they love to cite poverty as an excuse for killing babies.
One in Seven
We belong to an elite group of only seven nations with laws protecting elective abortions beyond the 20-week mark, including Canada, China, Netherlands, North Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam. But through the actions listed above, the current administration helps the March for Life stride on even further. VP Pence told the marchers never to doubt that they had the support of both the president and God. “My friends, life is winning in America, because love saves lives,” he said. We have a long way to go yet, but despite all those lost since the 70s, life really can win. It wins every time a child is allowed be born alive. As President Trump told the marchers, “Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full God-given potential – because of you.”
What great strides for life will President Trump get to announce at next year’s March for Life? Only time will tell.