Vice President Pence to speak at anti-abortion march
Pence, who was an early congressional leader of efforts to defund
But he will be the highest-ranking White House official to ever speak. Presidents
Pence's appearance was first reported by The New York Times on Thursday.
The vice president confirmed his appearance in a tweet after meeting with anti-abortion activists in his office Thursday night.
Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said participants are thrilled Pence is coming.
“Vice President Pence has been a friend and champion of the pro-life cause his entire career," Mancini said in a statement. She said Pence has shown "how one person can, indeed, make a difference in the ultimate human right -- the right to life."
During the campaign, Pence promised social conservatives he would be their champion in the White House, particularly in fighting abortion and Planned Parenthood.
“Let me assure you the Trump/Pence administration will stand for the sanctity of life and defend the unborn from the first day that we take office,” he said when addressing the
Asked two days before his inauguration how he planned to fulfill his promise, Pence told USA TODAY that it’s Trump who “will be their champion.”
“The president has taken a strong stand on the sanctity of life and you know I share that conviction,” Pence said.
He said his job as vice president is to support that agenda and to reach out to lawmakers, the public and groups around the country to “marshal the support necessary to achieve those successes.”
One of the first executive orders Trump signed Monday prohibits U.S. aid from supporting international groups that promote abortion.
The House voted Tuesday to permanently restrict federal tax dollars from paying for abortions for low-income women on Medicaid. That measure, which is unlikely to survive a Democratic filibuster in the Senate, would make permanent the language which is regularly included in annual spending bills blocking federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
Planned Parenthood received $553.7 million in government funding in 2014. The majority of the money comes by way of reimbursement for services the centers provide to Medicaid patients. While Planned Parenthood does perform abortions,government funds can only be used to pay for them in cases of rape or incest or when a woman’s life is in danger.
Planned Parenthood has planned 300 nationwide events over the next three months and an advocacy campaign to get people to contact their members of Congress.
But anti-abortion lawmakers and groups are optimistic about the help they will get from the new administration, particularly because of Pence.
“Pence's strong pro-life commitment will become readily apparent to those in our nation's capital,” Mike Fichter, the head of Indiana Right to Life said in a statement congratulating Pence last week. “Pence understands that the right to life is foundational to who we are as Americans.”