President Trump made history Friday as the first American president to attend the National March for Life in Washington, D.C., drawing applause and chants of “four more years, four more years,” as he took the stage to address the tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall prior to the march.
“It is my profound honor to be the first president in history to attend the March for Life. We are here for a very simple reason—to defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential. … Today, as president of the United States, I am truly proud to stand with you.”
During a roughly 13-minute speech, Trump praised the many thousands of young adults and teenagers at the march, telling them, “It’s your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation.” He also referenced the Bible’s teaching that each person is “wonderfully made” and that in seeing a baby in the womb “we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation.”
“Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” Trump said to loud applause.
Trump touted the administration’s accomplishments in defending life, noting the reimplementation of the Mexico City Policy blocking federal funding of international abortions, new life-affirming Title X family planning regulations, and the appointment of 187 constitutionally minded judges, including two Supreme Court appointments. He also cited the administration’s aim to continue protecting the conscience rights of medical workers and an ongoing effort to pass a pain-capable law to protect later-term babies in the womb.
He also derided the extreme abortion-rights views of major Democratic Party politicians.
“Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions taken and seen in this country for years and decades and you could even say for centuries. Nearly every top Democrat in Congress now supports taxpayer-funded abortion all the way up until the moment of birth,” Trump said.
“We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve,” Trump said. “The dreams they will imagine, the masterpieces they will create, the discoveries they will make. But we know this: Every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting. And above all, we know that every human soul is divine, and every human life, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of Almighty God.
“Together, we will defend this truth all across our magnificent land. We will set free the dreams of our people. And with determined hope, we look forward to all of the blessings that will come from the beauty, talent, purpose, ability and grace of every American child.”
Franklin Graham, who was attending the march for the first time with his daughter, Cissie Graham Lynch, noted the crowd’s faithful stand for life, and the president’s bold pro-life message.
“I’m proud of him. He has guts. He’s not a perfect person. We are all flawed individuals, but he is a man who has stood for the Christian faith, he’s pro-life. No president has ever done something like this. He’s a flawed individual like we all are, but he is the right man for this particular era at this point in history.
“I say God bless him, we need to pray for him.”
Trump was joined on the platform by administration officials such as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and White House communications aide and counselor Kellyanne Conway, as well as Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah; and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, also addressed the crowd, via video from Rome. Referring to this generation of young people as the “pro-life generation,” Pence said, “Thanks to your support and thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump, life is winning again.”
Cissie Graham Lynch, who marched alongside her father, said: “We are a generation who can change the course of where we’ve been going. The science is not on the Left’s side and the Left thinks it’s OK to take away a heartbeat. You see all these Americans—young and old—marching to the Supreme Court to end it, and I am so encouraged to be a part of it.”
Prior to the march, throngs of marchers—beginning near the Washington Monument and heading east toward the Capitol—were seen carrying signs or wearing shirts with messages such as “I Am The Pro-Life Generation” and “Abortion Stops a Beating Heart.” The March for Life bills itself as not only “the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world” but a celebration of life “from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death, and every moment in between.” Expectations were that as many as 100,000 would march, though no official numbers were available early Friday afternoon.
This year’s theme was “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman,” and several female speakers articulated that sentiment.
“I love everything about being pro-life,” said Katelyn Regan, one of five students from the Students for Life group from the University of New Hampshire. Regan told Decision her group often serves mothers of young children in crisis shelters by providing child care.
People think pro-life is merely not supporting abortion,” Regan said, “but it’s so much more than that. I am so glad to be here because we truly are the pro-life generation.”
The march is held annually on the Friday nearest the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling, which forced abortion-on-demand upon the states. This week, a sense of hope that an increasingly conservative Supreme Court might overturn Roe v. Wade was evident at pre-march events.
Roe v. Wade, decided 7-2 by a liberal majority court on Jan. 22, 1973, pre-dated many technological advances allowing insights into early fetal development, including proof of a heartbeat at around six weeks and pain sensations at a few months.
In March, the high court will hear its first abortion-related case since conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed, and one that some observers believe could add another chink in the armor for Roe, which even some liberal legal scholars believe was settled on faulty constitutional grounds. A decision on the case—which deals with a challenge to a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals—would likely come in June.
National Right to Life estimates that since 1973, legal abortion has claimed more than 61 million preborn lives. In the last reporting year, the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, says its affiliates performed more than 345,672 abortions, up from some 332,000 in the 2017-18 reporting year. Planned Parenthood received more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars last year, mostly through Medicaid payments.