On Friday, Americans from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., to participate in the 2018 March for Life. The rally attracted thousands of pro-life activists wishing to seek an end to abortion in the United States.
The march, which celebrated its 45th year, expanded throughout the capital city’s National Mall and included an array of big-name speakers and heartfelt testimonies.
Perhaps most remarkable for the march, Republican Donald Trump became the first sitting president in history to give a televised address to rally goers. George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan had spoken to marchers over a telephone call in years past.
The president’s speech was a testament to the amount of influence pro-life leaders hold in the current White House.
“Today, tens of thousands of families, students and patriots and really just great citizens, gather here in our nation’s capital, you come from many backgrounds many places, but you all come for one beautiful cause: to build a society where life is celebrated, protected, cherished,” the president said in his address at the White House Rose Garden.
Trump described the March for Life as something born out of “love.”
“You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation and you love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that a every child is a precious gift from God.”
During his speech, the president ticked off a number of pro-life accomplishments made under his administration in just the first year. While rolling back abortion rights through the federal and judicial level has proven difficult, the current White House has been able to notch pro-life measures by way of executive orders.
Trump pointed to an executive order he signed which expands a version of the Bush-era Mexico City policy. The policy prohibits U.S. funding to public health organizations that promote abortion overseas, something the Republican president re-instated upon entering office.
In a move that pro-life advocates have largely celebrated, the administration created a new federal office with the sole purpose of protecting doctors who do not wish to perform abortions due of their religious beliefs.
Established on Thursday — just one day before the March — the HHS Office of Civil Rights created the “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” to protect the rights of health workers who object to participating in abortion procedures.
Trump declared that there was much more work to be done in the fight for life, deriding how some states in the U.S. still allow abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy. He also took time to say that support for the pro-life cause was growing, adding that “Americans are more and more pro-life, you see that all the time.”
The president was by far not the only politician to address the crowd. Introducing Trump was Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke on the importance of the pro-life movement and what more needs to be done.
Last year, Pence made history when he became the highest-ranking official to address the March — his record, of course, was broken when Trump spoke on Friday. The former governor of Indiana is widely known for his social conservatism and Christian faith.
“Forty-five years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States turned its back on the inalienable right to life, but in that moment, our movement began,” Pence said.
“A movement that continues to win hearts and minds. A movement defined by generosity, compassion and love. A movement that one year ago tomorrow, inaugurated the most pro-life president in American history — President Donald Trump.”
Arriving in the flesh, House Speaker Paul Ryan also spoke to the crowd, with the audience cheering loudly over his attendance. The Wisconsin Republican noted how happy he was to see so many young faces in the crowd, a testament, he says, to the movement’s strong future.
Ryan was followed by his Republican colleagues in the House, including Reps. Herrera Beutler, Dan Lipinski and Chris Smith.
For many who attended the rally, the speakers were too far away to even be seen or heard.
The crowd drew thousands of marchers that expanded across the National Mall, a large area in the heart of Washington, D.C., near the Capitol building. The attendees ranged in age, as numerous Christian schools bused in their students to take part in the event for the first time, and marchers who’ve attended the annual rally for years returned once again.
Jason Hopkins is The Western Journal’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.
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