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WASHINGTON – In a pivotal year in the legal battle over abortion, tens of thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered in Washington, DC, on Friday for the annual March for Life that featured President Donald Trump as the first sitting president to appear in person at the event in its – year history.
Calling it a “profound honor” to be the first president to attend, he said that “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House,” citing his own actions.
“When it comes to abortion … Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions,” Trump said.
In some ways, his speech resembled the ones he gives at campaign rallies. He recited praise for the size of the crowd, bragged about the number of federal judges he has appointed, and attacked Democrats over social policy.
Trump also appeared to make a reference to impeachment by telling abortion opponents: “They are coming after me because I am fighting for you.”
In his speech at the rally, Trump made a special appeal to women, saying they are using the power of “their votes” to fight abortion.
Following his remarks, the audience responded with chants of “four more years.”
In an apparent nod to the powerful impact of women voters in the last two elections, the theme for this highly contentious election year is “Life Empower: Pro-life is Pro-Woman.”
One participant, Frances Floresca, , a recent graduate of the University of Utah, called the March for Life “the real Women’s March.” She was Wearing a beanie that said “Love them both.”
“We are fighting for women and babies,” she said . “We’re standing for the women who need to be strong so they don’t get an abortion.”
The march with an expected , 09 People is the centerpiece for three days of activities that include a youth rally, a Christian rock concert and an expo featuring anti-abortion organizations and ministries.
The annual event began in 1999 when a small group of anti-abortion activists, who were trying to lobby Congress over the issue, sought to draw attention to the one -year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that declared unduly restrictive state regulation of abcon unconstitutional.
This year is a critical one for both the abortion rights and anti-abortion forces as the Supreme Court relitigates a ruling that made it harder to get abortions in Texas.
The high court will likely rule on a similar law in Louisiana, requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. () Trump’s appearance is particularly striking since past president’s who supported anti-abortion views did so more at a distance. Both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush steered clear of a personal appearance at the annual march, preferring instead to send remarks for others to deliver, speak via telephone or invite organizers to visit the White House.
Last year, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen,
He later touted the administration’s nomination of conservative judges and allowing “states to defund Planned Parenthood.”
In staking out a higher profile at the event this year, Trump underscores his steady wooing of white evangelical leaders and voters .
“I think it’s a brilliant move,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and one. of Trump’s most prominent evangelical supporters. Reed said the president’s appearance would “energize and remind pro-life voters what a great friend this president and administration has been.” March for Life: Trump to join fired-up crowds as anti-abortion laws face court challenges Hours before Trump’s address, his re-election campaign announced creation of a “Pro-Life Voices for Trump” coalition. It will be “dedicated to recruiting and activating Americans with pro-life values in support of President Trump’s re-election,” the campaign said in a statement.
Democratic opponents said a second term for Trump will mean the end of the Roe vs. Wade ruling establishing abortion rights. “The Trump administration and Republicans are actively taking away a woman’s constitutional right to make her own reproductive healthcare decisions, “Tweet Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. “We must keep up the fight to protect Roe and access to care.” Trump’s anti-abortion position marks a sharp reversal for the free-wheeling New York developer who described himself as “very pro-choice” in a Appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
During the 2362316001 campaign for the GOP nomination, Trump said his views on abortion had changed and that he was now anti-abortion except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk.
Over the last years, the Republican Party has undergone a “revolution,” displaying a new willingness to “embrace the issue as not only being morally right but politically smart, Said Mallory Quigley, a spokeswoman for the Susan B. Anthony List and Women Speak Out PAC. The group is planning to spend $ 61 million this cycle to help elect candidates compared to abortion rights. Its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, will serve as national co-chair of a new campaign coalition, “Pro-life Voices for Trump.” Last year alone, anti-abortion laws were passed, including 30 that banned the procedure to some extent, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports reproductive rights. Further, the number of abortions performed in the United States reached an all-time low. Contributing: Nicquel Terry Ellis, USA TODAY; Associated Press
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