Donald Trump addressed the March for Life crowd gathered by the thousands on the National Promenade in Washington in a speech in the White House garden. Theirs is a movement born of love, Trump said.
Donald Trump became the first U.S. president to address the 45th Congress of the United States. "March for Life" addressed the several hundred thousand pro-life demonstrators with a video message. "Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life," he shouted to protesters from the White House Rose Garden, from where his speech was broadcast live via satellite.
Trump to speak in person outside White House
Trump said he was proud to speak to pro-life activists from the White House. Other presidents before him, Ronald Reagan, George Bush senior and junior had addressed abortion opponents via telephone.
Participants in the protest march, which annually commemorates the unrestricted U.S. legalization of abortion in 1973, spoke positively of the presidential address. Many expressed they didn't agree on everything; but Trump had done a great service in the fight against abortion.
Protection for health workers
As recently as Thursday, Trump announced that doctors, nurses and other health care workers would in the future be protected from participating in abortions against their will. The U.S. president is thus meeting a central demand, especially from the evangelical camp, but also from the Catholic camp.
In 1973, the nation's top judges had ruled in Roe vs. Wade votes seven to two to declare abortions a private matter. Since then, some 59 million babies have been aborted in the U.S., the organizers' website says.
Growing number of participants
The march in Washington began on the National Mall. Participants marched to the final rally at the Supreme Constitutional Court. The first "March for Life" was attended by about 20 people.000 people. Between 2003 and 2009, the number of attendees grew to a quarter of a million; in 2013, there were 650.000. Meanwhile, mostly under-30s are among the attendees.
This year, a number of high-profile speakers had announced their attendance, including the highest-ranking politician, U.S. Congressional Republican Speaker and Catholic Paul Ryan. In 2017, Vice President Mike Pence spoke to protesters. As in the past, the Democrats did not participate in the pro-life rally with political celebrities. Supporters include evangelical football superstar Tim Tebow as well as a number of other top athletes.
Political Upgrading of "Pro Life"
Since Trump took office, the "pro-life" movement has seen a political resurgence. Like the march's evangelical participants, however, the U.S. government is focusing on the abortion ie. In recent years, participants have sought to broaden the rally's focus from protecting the unborn to include "pro-life" ies such as immigration, poverty and health insurance.
Donald Trump was not always a friend of pro-lifers. In 1999, he asserted in a television interview with NBC that he "hates the concept of abortion" but supports a woman's right to choose.