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Pence Declares 'Life Is Winning Again' at Anti-Abortion March

Vice President Pence tells the March for Life a GOP Congress and new Supreme Court pick could lead to "historic moment" for anti-abortion advocates.
Anti-abortion activists gather at the Washington Monument to hear Vice President Mike Pence speak at the March for Life rally on Jan. 27 in WashingtonTasos Katopodis / AFP - Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence declared that "life is winning again in America" at the annual anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Friday.

A longtime opponent of abortion rights and the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal nationwide, Pence made a personal plea to the audience to embrace "love, not anger" and "compassion, not confrontation" when fighting for their position.

Pence was the first sitting vice president to ever attend the annual march. In the past, like-minded presidents like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have called into the event to voice their support.

President Donald Trump, in his own characteristic way, tweeted early on Friday: "The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching — you have my full support!"

According to Pence, he was appearing at the behest of Trump.

"President Trump actually asked me to be with you here today," said Pence before echoing the sentiment expressed in the Commander-in-Chief's tweet. "He asked me to thank you for your support."

Related: Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway: ‘Every Day Is a Fight for Life’

Although Trump had a long history of publicly stating his support for abortion rights he has reversed himself since becoming a national politician. During the GOP primary race he made headlines and earned widespread criticism for floating the idea that women should be "punished" if they sought an abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Despite backtracking on that controversial assertion, Trump has moved full speed ahead on the abortion issue since being sworn in as president just seven days ago.

In one of his first moves as president, Trump reinstated the so-called Global Gag Rule or Mexico City policy, which prohibits federal funds for foreign countries which provide abortion rights education and services. While Trump's decision to change the policy was expected, the fact that he signed the executive order in a room full of white men, was not well-received.

And some critics have argued that Trump's policy will actually lead to more, albeit unsafe, abortions.

Meanwhile, this White House's more active involvement in the March for Life -- senior Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway also appeared -- is a break from previous administrations and may signal an even more outspoken stance on reproductive rights issues.

Related: DC’s ‘March for Life’ to Highlight Gains by Abortion Opponents

During his address, Pence noted that with "pro life majorities" in the House and Senate -- as well as an upcoming Supreme Court pick who will be "in the tradition of the late great Antonin Scalia" -- anti-abortion advocates could look forward to a "historic moment" for their cause.

"Along with you we will not grow weary, we will not rest, until we restore a culture of life," said Pence.

Friday's March for Life comes almost a week after a wave of massive protests around the country and the globe led by women's rights activists, that were largely in opposition to President Trump and his policies. And while those marches were criticized on the right for excluding anti-abortion voices, they were still historically unprecedented in terms of their size and diversity.

Trump, who has proven highly sensitive to issues of crowd size, has already predicted that the March for Life will draw roughly a half a million people. There are no official estimates of the turnout at this time.

Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life, said on Friday that she didn't want to compare numbers with the women's marches last weekend,

"The only number I care about and the number all of us here care about is 58 million," she said in reference to an estimate of the number of abortions since 1973. "Pro-life is pro-woman. That voice might have been shut out last week but pro-life is pro-woman."