The president of America’s largest pro-life youth organization says her visit to the White House the day before the March for Life is a sign that the movement to save women and babies from the devastation of abortion is finally optimistic and full of hope.
“I was so honored to have been invited to the White House the day before the March for Life to meet Vice President Mike Pence, who I have worked with years in the pro-life movement,” Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins tells Breitbart News. “We have no better ally as pro-lifers and as I’ve said before, Mike Pence was working to defund Planned Parenthood before it was cool.”
Pence was the first sitting Vice President to address the March for Life, held each year in January on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. President Donald Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway also addressed the pro-life activists on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on Friday, and the president himself tweeted out his support for the marchers, more signs the Trump administration is giving the movement a thumbs-up.
“We have so much work to do as a movement that seeks to make abortion unthinkable and help women facing unplanned pregnancies, but I am hopeful we will make huge strides in the next several years with President Trump, Vice President Pence and his team of dedicated pro-lifers,” Hawkins says.
Hawkins’ visit to the White House represents a stark change since the inauguration a little over a week ago. Planned Parenthood supporter President Barack Obama – the first sitting president to speak at the abortion business’ annual fundraiser gala – and his staff greeted Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards frequently during his two administrations.
White House visitor logs available online show that Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards visited Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, and other White House staff and officials, at least 55 times during the Obama years, using the name “Cecile Richards.” However, Richards made some additional visits to the White House using the middle initial “A,” for her married surname “Adams,” and others using her middle name initial “L,” for “Lynn.”
“What a difference one election makes, now to have an administration that is open to life, that’s excited about promoting life,” Hawkins observes.
Hawkins and students from her organization crashed the so-called “Women’s” March on Washington the day after the inauguration following their rejection as partners of the march by its organizers because of their pro-life views.
“We were out there at the “Women’s March” last weekend,” she said. “It was a plethora of issues – a march against Trump and his administration, abortion, immigration, $15 an hour minimum wage, climate change. But this is the march on life.”
“This is the anti-abortion march that we hold every year,” Hawkins reflects. “I’m excited that the media and the nation will see a stark difference. We were yelled at, spat upon, and our signs were ripped from our hands at the Women’s March. The crowd was also mostly older last week. The March for Life group is a young crowd and a joyful crowd.”
Despite her optimism, Hawkins says the pro-life movement will remain vigilant in holding the Trump administration and Congress accountable.
“We’re looking forward to making sure President Trump holds up his end of the bargain – his promises,” she says. “Defunding Planned Parenthood of our federal taxpayer dollars, appointing pro-life Supreme Court justices, codifying the Hyde Amendment law so our taxpayer dollars don’t fund abortions, and banning late-term 20-week abortions.”
“We have a lot of work to do, and I think it’s really important that we’re here because Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry knows that their piggy bank is on the ropes and they’re going to stop at nothing to stop this,” she notes. “So, we’ve got to be here showing Congress and the White House that we mean business.”
Other pro-life leaders echo Hawkins’ sentiments.
Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, agrees that while the March for Life is generally uplifting and joyful, this year pro-life activists are feeling more hopeful and looking to see the promises that were made to them are kept.
“The number one priority for the pro-life movement is to have a constitutionalist jurist appointed to the Supreme Court, someone who will read the text of the Constitution and continue Justice Scalia’s legacy, and not just legislate from the bench,” McGuire tells Breitbart News, adding that things are already moving in a positive direction.
We’ve already had a big accomplishment in the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy – which is very important for the Trump administration to send a message to the pro-life movement that he intends to make good on his pledge to us. I think other important goals will be to redirect the half a billion dollars of taxpayer money that goes to Planned Parenthood toward women’s health clinics that actually provide a comprehensive range of services and aren’t controversial. And I think that passing the Pain-Capable Act – which would put us on par with the rest of the world that has banned late-term abortions – so I think those are some realistic goals for us to achieve.”
McGuire also notes the change in mood among pro-life activists since Trump sent both Pence and Conway to their most significant event.
“It’s an extraordinary mood change,” she says. “It sends a very clear message to us and to the world that things are going to be different. That adds a layer of excitement I’ve never experienced in the years I’ve been going to the March for Life.”
“Planned Parenthood has a real reason to be worried, because public opinion is against them and the dominoes are starting to fall in a way that bodes hopeful for actual women’s health care,” McGuire adds.