Jan. 27 (UPI) — Vice President Mike Pence told thousands of abortion opponents at the March for Life in Washington the results of November’s election show “life is winning in America again.”
Thousands of demonstrators descended on Washington on Friday for the annual rally and were greeted by a capital friendlier to their views than it has been in a decade.
With Republicans controlling majorities in both houses of Congress and President Donald Trump, a reformed abortion opponent, occupying the White House, social conservatives who have called for strict rules on a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy find themselves taking center stage.
A sign of how much the anti-abortion movement has taken center stage: Trump dispatched two of the most powerful figures in his administration, Pence and special adviser Kellyanne Conway, to serve as prime speakers at Friday’s march on the National Mall.
Trump also tweeted out his support for the march.
Pence addressed the crowd, thanking them for their support and promising the Trump administration would remain faithful to its campaign promises to social conservatives.
“Because of all of you and the many thousands who stand with us … life is winning again in America,” Pence said. “It is no more evident in any way than the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America and a president I proudly say stands for the right to life, President Donald Trump.
He thanked the crowd for “your stand for life and your compassion for the women and children of America.”
At the top of the agenda for many abortion opponents in the new Congress are a nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and cutting off all federal funds for the group Planned Parenthood, a non-profit women’s health organization that is also the nation’s single largest abortion provider.
Activists are also girding for a fight over the vacant Supreme Court seat, which Trump has pledged to fill with a justice personally opposed to abortion. Senate Democrats have promised to filibuster any nominee who threatens to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion under the 14th Amendment, setting up what could be the first major showdown of Trump’s administration with Democrats.
Trump’s path to leader of the anti-abortion movement was a long and complicated one. He once proclaimed himself “very pro-choice” but since changed that position. During the campaign he spoke about a friend who considered having an abortion, but decided to keep the child. Watching the child grow changed his position on the issue, Trump said. Many social conservatives were slow to warm to Trump, but he won over many with an impassioned speech calling for a ban on late-term abortions, where he spoke in graphic terms about the procedure, which he said “[rips] the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth.”
That speech, combined with his pledge to nominate an abortion critic to the Supreme Court, rallied many social conservatives to his side.
The March for Life has taken place each January in Washington since 1974, to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, on Jan. 22, 1973.