This week the annual March for Life will take place in Washington, D.C. and President Trump is set to make a speech to rally the crowd. This is historic because it is the first time a sitting president will make a speech at the event. Before understanding the weight of what the president is set to do, it is important to understand what the March for Life is.
The March for Life was founded by Nellie Gray in response to the Roe vs. Wade court decision of 1973 that legalized abortion. The first event was held on the West Steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. with approximately 20,000 supporters in attendance. These marchers are fighting for the repeal of Roe vs. Wade and the subsequent illegalization of abortions nationwide. According to the mission statement on their website, they “march because [they] envision a future world where the beauty and dignity of every human life are valued and protected.”
The event has taken place every year since 1974, with supporters taking to the streets of Washington, D.C. to protest against safe, legal abortions. The main event starts around noon with rallies taking place throughout the city before ending on the steps of the Supreme Court. Protesters also send roses to members of Congress and attempt to lobby them to the cause. The March for Life has hosted a variety of well-known speakers over the years, most notably Vice President Mike Pence, but a sitting president has never spoken at the even- until now.
President Trump is making history by speaking at this year’s March for Life. There is speculation that the president is going to this event to face an increasingly rare friendly crowd, as the Senate impeachment trials loom over him. It may simply be a ploy for reelection, or it might be an act of defiance against the liberal base he has consistently spoken out against. According to an NPR article, the president has “leaned into his connection to religious and social conservatives,” understanding that he needs to garner the support of the evangelicals if he wants to secure a second term in office. Despite the presidents former pro-choice beliefs, he is a welcome addition to the event and his fanbase seems to be overjoyed to hear him speak at the rally.
Pro-choice advocates condemn his choice to speak and insist that it is wildly inappropriate for a sitting president to make a cheap shot at keeping pro-life supporters on his side. Clearly Donald Trump is trying to ensure he keep his supporters happy as his impeachment nears, and I suppose all we can at this point is wait and see.