Every year since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision made abortion a federally protected right, those opposed to the ruling have marched in Washington D.C. in support of the larger pro-life movement. This year will mark the 44th march, and Mike Pence will be in attendance.
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Marchers will come form all 50 states. The group traditionally gathers on the National Mall. While media coverage has historically been lackluster, this year’s line-up of big names will draw some extra attention to the march.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s advisor, plans to be at the march, too. And President Trump, speaking with ABC news, implied that his administration would be visible at the event.
Thursday morning, updated security information appeared on the March for Life website. This included new provisions on items that marchers are not allowed to bring. This update fueled speculation that a senior official would be in attendance.
Later, the White House confirmed that it would be Vice President Mike Pence, who has accepted an invitation to speak at the event.
Pence’s attendance is significant. The March for Life has long struggled to get the recognition its participants feel it deserves. Vice President Pence’s appearance marks the first time a Vice President has attended the event.
Pence has spoken to marchers before, but not in his current role as Vice President. Other notable Republicans have participated, but not directly. Both President Reagan and President Bush have stepped up for the march, but they delivered their messages via phone calls, and not in person.
There’s a belief that this increased political presence may bring more support to the pro-life movement. President Trump, for his part, has already been active. In his first week in office he’s signed executive orders defunding international organizations that provide counseling about, or provide abortions.
In addition, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, or HR 7, was passed by the House of Representatives and is now headed to the Senate for a vote. The House voted in favor of the act 238 to 183. The act, which was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, assures that taxpayers’ monies will not be used to pay for abortion.