March for Life, the yearly anti-abortion rally, is about to get started in Washington, D.C.
The rally will officially kick off at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, when speeches will be delivered from the National Mall. The entire event can be streamed live in the embedded YouTube player via The New York Times. The march itself will begin at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
This is the 44th annual March for Life, an anti-abortion rally that takes place every year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This year, the march is being held a few days after the anniversary; the Supreme Court decision came on January 22, 1973.
The 2017 march has gained more attention than usual this year for a few reasons. One is that Vice President Mike Pence will actually be attending the event and delivering remarks from the stage. This will be the first time a president or vice president has ever gone to the March for Life, though a few presidents have spoken to the crowd remotely. Also speaking at the event will be Kellyanne Conway, President Donald Trump’s senior counselor and his former campaign manager, and President Trump himself will reportedly call into the event.
President Donald Trump has also plugged the 2017 March for Life several times over the past week. Mainly he brought it up as a counterargument when the Women’s March on Washington was being discussed, with Trump saying that although that crowd might be big, the March for Life is just as large and the press doesn’t report on it as extensively.
Rally participants will have a new sense of optimism this time, as this is the first time in eight years that there has been a pro-life president in the White House. Within his first week in office, President Trumps signed an executive order barring funds from international health organizations that promote abortion as part of family planning. This policy was introduced by President Ronald Reagan, and it is typically repealed by every Democratic president and reinstated by every Republican president.
“The President, it’s no secret, has made it very clear that he’s a pro-life president,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. “He wants to stand up for all Americans, including the unborn, and I think the reinstatement of this policy is not just something that echoes that value, but respects taxpayer funding as well.”
Donald Trump actually described himself as being pro-choice in the late 1990s, but he says that he has evolved on the issue. He said during his campaign that he wants Roe v. Wade to be overturned and for the abortion issue to be turned over to the states, and this will inform his decision of who should be appointed to the Supreme Court.
“[B]ecause I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that that will go back to the individual states,” Trump said during a presidential debate. “If we put another two or perhaps three justice on, that’s really what’s going to be. That’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”
Trump has also spoken in favor of defunding Planned Parenthood, and he famously said during an interview that women should be punished for having abortions, though he later walked this back. When asked by Chris Matthews if he believes in punishment for women who have abortions, Trump said, “The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.”