Vice President Speaks at March for Life
WASHINGTON — On Friday, Jan. 27, just days after the presidential inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence spoke to hundreds of thousands, including members of the Knights of Columbus, gathered to participate in the 2017 March for Life.
The event has taken place every January since 1974, on or near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout the nation.
The event kicked off with a rally sponsored by the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, which was born out of the grassroots movement that gathered on the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
At the rally, Vice President Pence, the highest ranking government official to attend the event during its 44-year history, said, “I am deeply humbled to be the first vice president of the United States ever to attend this event.” On behalf of President Trump, he also thanked the attendees for their stand for life and their compassion for the women and children of America.
Citing the Mexico City Policy that restricts funding for abortion services to foreign countries, Pence assured pro-lifers that the Trump administration will continue to devote its time and energy to making America a country for life, announcing that President Trump will name a pro-life Supreme Court nominee next week.
“We’ve come to a historic moment in the cause for life,” he said. “Compassion is overcoming convenience, and hope is defeating despair. … In a word, life is winning in America because of all of you.” He added, “Be assured that along with you, we will not grow wearied, we will not rest, until we restore a culture of life in America for ourselves and for our posterity.”
The rally began with the introduction of Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, by Deputy Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly, who referred to the march as “the largest annual civil rights gathering in the world.” After greeting the crowds, Mancini welcomed Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to President Trump.
“I am a wife, a mother, a Catholic, counselor to the president of the United States of America. And yes, I am pro-life,” Conway told the crowd. “It is such an honor to stand with the vice president of the United States and with students from places near and far to defend the unborn. This is a new day, a new dawn for life.”
“Why are we here? What does it mean to stand together?” she continued. “It means to protect and promote the most precious gift in the world, the gift of life.”
The number of attendees at the pro-life march has grown throughout the years, with attendees coming not just from nearby states but from across the country to participate. This year, the marching crowd grew following the rally, reaching — according to EWTN reporters at the event — approximately half a million attendees.
Their attendance supports the Marist polling commissioned by the Knights of Columbus in 2016, which showed that the majority of Americans see abortion as both ultimately harmful to women and morally wrong.
Of those polled, 55 percent of Americans agreed that abortion ultimately does a woman more harm than good — an opinion equally shared by both the men and women polled. By contrast, only about 1 in 10 Americans believe there should be no restrictions on abortion.
“Year in and year out since we began polling on this issue, the American people have understood that the law can protect mother and child alike and have expressed a strong consensus in favor of abortion restrictions,” said Supreme Knight Anderson. “It is time for a new national conversation on abortion, one that begins with this consensus in favor of restrictions — a consensus that American women and men have already reached.”
This year, as in past years, the crowd at the March for Life consisted of people of all faiths and political backgrounds. Countless pro-life banners and flags were on display, including the thousands of Knights of Columbus “Defend Life” and “Choose Life” signs distributed by the D.C. State Council. Many participants attended with their families and young children. Others, such as college and high school students, traveled together on parish- or school-sponsored buses.
Armed with cell phones, many marchers shared their support of life on social media using the hashtag #PowerofOne, which was the hopeful theme of this year’s march. The theme emphasized the power that each individual person can have in building a culture that protects life at each and every stage.
Following the rally, the nearly 2-mile march began from the National Mall and progressed past the U.S. Capitol before concluding at the Supreme Court building.
Standing together, marchers once more defended the weakest in society. It is a cause that has endured both weather and time as people continue to make a stand — or in this case, a march — for life.