IMAGE: CNS/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters
By Julie Asher
WASHINGTON (CNS) — In remarks broadcast to the March
for Life from the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump said that his
administration “will always defend the very first right in the Declaration
of Independence, and that is the right to life.”
He invoked the theme of this year’s march, “Love
Saves Lives,” and praised the crowd as being very special and “such
great citizens gathered in our nation’s capital from many places for one
beautiful cause” — celebrating and cherishing life.
“Every unborn child is a precious gift
from God,” he said, his remarks interrupted several times by applause from
the crowd gathered on the National Mall. He praised the pro-lifers for having
“such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure parents have the
support they need to choose life.”
“You’re living witnesses of this year’s March
for Life theme, ‘Love Saves Lives,'” His remarks were broadcast to the crowd
live via satellite to a Jumbotron above the speakers’ stage, a first for any
U.S. president, according to March for Life.
During their tenure in office, President Ronald
Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush all addressed
the march via telephone or a radio hookup from the Oval Office, with their
remarks broadcast to the crowd.
Trump spoke with a crowd surrounding him in the Rose
Garden, including 20 students from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North
Dakota. One of those standing next to the president was a Marianne Donadio, a top
official with Room at the Inn,
a nationally accredited Catholic ministry based in North Carolina that serves
homeless, pregnant women and single mothers with children.
Vice President Mike Pence, who addressed last year’s
March for Life in person at Trump’s request, introduced the president as the
“most pro-life president in American history,” for among other things
issuing an executive memorandum shortly after his inauguration to reinstate the
“Mexico City Policy.” The policy bans all foreign nongovernmental
organizations receiving U.S. funds from performing or promoting abortion as a
method of family planning in other countries.
Trump also has nominated pro-life judges to fill
several court vacancies and a day before the March for Life the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services announced formation of a new Conscience and
Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights. Its aim is to
protect the conscience rights of doctors and other health care workers who do
not want to perform procedures they consider morally objectionable.
For the first time in a recent memory, the weather in
Washington was more than tolerable for March for Life participants as they
gathered on the National Mall to mark the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme
Court decision legalizing abortion. The sun was shining and the blue sky was
cloudless. By the time the speeches ended and the march to the Supreme Court
started, the temperature had reached 50 degrees.
Mancini, president of March for Life, opened the rally by calling on
everyone in the crowd to text the word “March” to 7305 and to show their
commitment to ending abortion and join their voices in calling on Congress to
defund Planned Parenthood.
“Do you agree that’s important?” she asked
the crowd. “Yes!” they shouted. March for Life, she said, is about
educating people about abortion and mobilizing to end it and to love all those
women and families who are facing a troubled pregnancy and other needs.
“‘Love Saves Lives’ is this year’s theme,”
she added. “Love and sacrifice go hand in hand It is not easy. No one ever
said it was, but it is the right choice … the self-sacrificial option.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, was among several
others who addressed the crowd.
“Thank God for giving us a pro-life president in
the White House,” the Catholic congressman said.
“Your energy is so infectious,” he told the
crowd, praising them for being “the vigor and enthusiasm of the pro-life
Seeing so many young people “is so inspiring
because it tells us this a movement on the rise,” he said. “Why is
the pro-life movement on the rise? Because truth is on our side. Life begins at
conception. Science is on our side.”
Herrera Beutler, R-Washington, gave an emotional speech about the
troubled pregnancy she faced about four years ago. She and her husband, Dan,
were told their unborn child had severe defects, that the baby’s kidneys would
never develop and the lungs were undeveloped because of a rare condition.
Abortion was their only option, they were told.
Today, that baby is 4-year-old Abigail. She and her
younger brother and their father stood on the stage with the congresswoman.
“Dan and I prayer and we cried (at the news of
their unborn child’s condition) … and in that devastation we saw hope. What
if God would do a miracle? What if a doctor was willing to try something new?
Like saline infusions to mimic amniotic fluid so kidneys could develop?”
With “true divine intervention and some very
courageous doctors willing to take a risk we get to experience our daughter,
Abigail,” Herrera Beutler said. She is a very “healthy, happy
4-year-old big sister who some day is going to be ‘the boss of mommy’s
work,'” she said.
Herrera Beutler asked the crowd to imagine that 45
years of legal abortion had not existed and that 60 million babies had not been
lost to abortion, and if out of those people had come those who could cure
cancer and correct all manner of disabling conditions, including those that
exist in utero, and eradicate poverty.
“What richness we would we get to see instead of
two generations missing,” she added.
Another Catholic member of Congress and longtime
pro-life advocate, Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, described the last 45 years
of legal abortion as Orwellian.
“Every one of you here today” and millions
of others throughout the country and world, he said, “are an integral part
of the greatest human rights struggle on earth. Because we pray, because we
fast, we will win. Babies will be protected.”
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