-- For the first time at the annual anti-abortion March for Life rally, a vice president addressed the crowds gathered in Washington, D.C.
Vice President Mike Pence, a Catholic and longtime supporter of the anti-abortion movement who enacted some of the strictest abortion laws in the country as governor of Indiana, told cheering supporters gathered on the National Mall “life is winning again in America.”
"Along with you, we will not grow weary, we will not rest until we restore a culture of life in America for ourselves and our posterity," said Pence.
The march, which began in front of the Washington Monument, ends at the steps of the United States Supreme Court. Pence said at the pre-march event that next week, President Donald Trump will announce a Supreme Court nominee in the anti-abortion jurisprudence of the late Antonin Scalia who “will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution.”
Out on the campaign trail, Trump frequently said that he would nominate “pro-life” judges to the Supreme Court. And while Trump was not able to attend the rally, he expressed his support on Twitter.
“The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching --- you have my full support!” Trump tweeted.
Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway joined Pence in representing the Trump administration.
“Steps away from here in the White House a president and vice president sit at their desks and make decisions for a nation. as they sit there, they stand here with you,” said Conway. “This is a time of incredible promise for pro-life, pro-adoption movement. Our action must reach those women who face unplanned pregnancies, they should know they are not alone. They’re not judged. They’re protected and cared for and celebrated. So to the March for Life 2017 allow me to make it very clear -- we hear you, we see you, we respect you, and we look forward to working with you.”
The March for Life draws advocates against abortion rights from around the country to Washington, D.C. It is held each year around the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, made on Jan. 22, 1973.
Many in the movement against abortion rights have spoken highly of the Trump administration. Tom McCluksy, vice president of government affairs at the March for Life, expressed optimism for the advancement of an anti-abortion agenda in the first 100 days.
“Trump has made pro-life promises and has assembled a team of personnel with incredible pro-life convictions, and qualifications, starting with ... Pence,” he wrote in a blog post.
This year’s march centers on the theme “The Power of One.” Beyond Pence and Conway, speakers included Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, and conservative author Eric Metaxas.
“It is our hope that this year’s March for Life will encourage each of us to seek and fulfill our unique mission to the best of our ability because only in doing so we will collectively build a culture of life in the U.S. -- a culture where abortion is unthinkable,” March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement.