Thousands of anti-abortion activists, including many young people bundled up against the cold weather gripping the nation’s capital, gathered at a stage on the National Mall Friday for their annual march in the long-contentious debate over abortion.
Signs reading “Choose love, Choose life,” “I am the pro-life generation,” and “Defund Planned Parenthood” dotted the crowd gathering under hazy, wintry skies at the morning rally.
Like last year, President Donald Trump addressed the group by video. He promised to veto any bill that “weakens the protection of human life.”
Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the event, listed actions the administration has taken over the past two years to deter abortions.
Trump noted that the administration has ensured foreign aid doesn’t flow to organizations that promote abortion. Pence credited Trump with nominating conservative judges to the federal bench.
Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill., who is one of the only anti-abortion Democrats in the House, also addressed the morning rally. Ben Shapiro, a popular conservative commentator, was the featured speaker.
Shapiro spent his time on a live show “debunking” abortion rights arguments. He discussed the value of life and emphasized that his arguments were based in science, rather than religion alone. “Abortion is not just pulling a plug,” Shapiro said. “Abortion is a violent act.”
Pence and his wife Karen also made a surprise appearance at the Friday rally with a video message from Trump. “This is a movement founded on love and grounded in the nobility and dignity of every human life,” Trump said in the message. “I will always defend the first right in our Declaration of Independence: the right to life.”
Pence earlier called into Shapiro’s broadcast from the march. “We’ve got a record of extraordinary progress on the right to life,” Pence said of the Trump administration. “This will be the generation that restores the right to life in America.”
He later tweeted about the administration’s nomination of conservative judges and allowing “states to defund Planned Parenthood.”
SOURCE: Ryan W. Miller and Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY