Pence Tells Anti-Abortion Marchers That ‘Life is Winning’ - The New York Times
New York Times
28th January 2017
Abortion opponents gathered on Friday in Washington for their annual march, which has taken place every year since 1974 to protest the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision from 1973. ■ Vice President Mike Pence, the official to ever speak in person at the march, told the crowd that “life is winning.
” ■ Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, also addressed the crowd. ■ The march drew thousands of activists. Mr.
Pence, using the refrain “life is winning,” assured the crowd that Mr. Trump shared their opposition to abortion and would appoint a justice to the Supreme Court who held that view as well. “We will not rest until we restore a culture of life in America,” Mr.
Pence said, and thousands in the crowd cheered. He also said that by many measures — the views of members of Congress and advances in science among them — “life is winning in America. ” Standing where other Republican leaders have usually just sent video or audio recordings of their message, Mr.
Pence said the movement should embrace the moment. Kellyanne Conway may have sprung onto the national political scene largely unknown. But inside the movement of those opposing abortion, she has been a leading figure for two decades.
“Kellyanne is one of us,” is how she was introduced at the March for Life. As a pollster and political strategist, she advised numerous groups like the Susan B. Anthony List and the March for Life, urging them to adopt what she often described as a more approach that avoided some of the more incendiary language of the movement in the past.
Opponents of abortion gather every year on the National Mall and march to the Supreme Court. Usually their defiance is not much more than symbolism — the court is the origin of Roe v. Wade, the decision in 1973 that they have sought for more than 40 years to overturn.
This year they have ample reason to believe that under a government, they will begin to see movement for the first time in more than a decade. In previous years, no president or vice president has ever addressed the march in person. This year, the Trump administration will be out in full force with the appearances of Mr.
Pence and Ms. Conway. President Trump, in one of his first official acts, signed an order prohibiting foreign aid to health providers abroad who discuss abortion as a option.
And in a break with previous Republican presidents, he has embraced the idea of a litmus test for his Supreme Court nominees and pledged explicitly to name someone who opposes abortion. He said he would announce his choice on Thursday to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last February. Mr.
Trump has become an unlikely champion for the movement, with abortion opponents saying he is probably their most unflinching White House ally since President Ronald Reagan. Though Mr. Trump spent much of his life as a supporter of abortion rights, he spoke more vividly and forcefully on the issue during the campaign than any recent Republican nominee.
And while many groups opposing abortion were vehemently opposed to Mr. Trump during the Republican primaries last year, almost all of them came around. Today, however unexpectedly, they march in a Washington suddenly more friendly to their interests.
Many of the activists said they were looking forward to President Trump appointing Supreme Court justices who might overturn the right to abortions and to the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Marchers waved signs spelling out their beliefs in messages like “Save the babies,” “ ” and “Trump for Baby Bumps. ” Still, some of the marchers remained wary of the new president.
Kathleen Crank, 19, a sophomore at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. traveled on a five bus caravan of 260 students to come to the march. She said she was happy to have a president who would oppose abortion but wasn’t excited about much else about Mr.
Trump. She said she waited until the last minute and decided not to vote for either him or Hillary Clinton. “Their stance on abortion is probably the only issue I’m glad about for this administration,” she said.
“I’m glad that after eight years of reading Obama’s tweets celebrating Roe v. Wade, I’m glad we finally have an administration that is recognizing we need to cut funding for abortions in other countries and bringing it back down to the state level. ” Ms.
Crank also said she saw abortions as less about religion than about preserving the rights of unborn children. “It’s more a social justice issue for unborn babies than a religious one to push an agenda,” she said. “Everyone should be able to live their life and live it however they want to.
” Annette Saunders, 60, drove five hours with her husband from Norwalk, Conn. to volunteer with Save the Storks, a group that opposes abortion, and to hand out signs that said, “For those who can’t. ” Though she voted for Mr.
Trump, Ms. Saunders said she agonized over the decision because she found him to be “crass” and was frustrated by the tape of him using vulgarities to talk about women. “I was concerned but I felt like God told me to vote for Donald Trump,” she said.
“He is standing up for and his vice president certainly is and I’m excited about seeing a turnaround. ” Jon Banks and Josie Rauh, both 18, were taking photos of each other in front of the Washington Monument clad in red and blue President caps. They were part of a group that traveled to Washington from Archbishop Hoban, a private Catholic high school in Akron, Ohio.
Both said Mr. Trump’s opposition to abortion were the centerpieces of their support for the new president. They grew up in families dedicated to the cause.
Ms. Rauh had supported former President Barack Obama but became enthusiastic in 2016. “I thought Obama was a pretty good president,” she said.
“I think there are some things that need to be changed, like Roe v. Wade. I think Trump has got a plan and is ready to do it.
” “I want women to have their rights,” she added. “But I think there are a bunch of women in the womb that are being killed, too. ” Mr.
Banks, the son of a police officer, said he was thrilled by Mr. Trump’s patriotism. He said he hoped the new president found a way to outlaw abortion.
As Mr. Pence, Ms. Conway and several other speakers celebrated what they described as a new phase for the movement, thousands of people shouted “Trump” and “Life” while happily waving their hands.
Anne Nudi, 49, a nurse and college professor who flew to Washington from her home in Kenosha, Wis. to come to the march, said she enthusiastically cast her ballot for Mr. Trump and has been encouraged by his first busy week in office.
“I feel empowered. I feel positive. I feel encouraged about the future and I feel blessed that I have a president who is supportive of our cause,” she said as she shivered while watching the speakers.
“I believe he’s a good person. He’s made his own way and I believe he wants what’s best for our country regardless of party affiliation. ”.
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