January 19, 2018
When pro-lifers spilled into the sunny streets this morning, the weather wasn't the only thing lifting spirits. To the tens of thousands at the March for Life, it's the climate of this administration that bears celebrating. A year removed from the most pro-abortion president in history, the mood up and down the National Mall was upbeat. The long shadow of the Obama administration is finally gone. And for the first time in decades, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they have a leader who won't just talk about life, but do everything in his power to protect it.
"It's been a delight, in a sense, seeing how faithful he's been," said March for Life President Jeanne Mancini. Like most conservatives, Jeanne's been amazed at the progress the administration has made in such a short time. From zeroing out international abortion dollars to letting states defund Planned Parenthood, the president has delivered on more promises than any conservative in years -- including his most important: the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. "He certainly doesn't lack courage," Jeanne told reporters. "He's been leaning into this issue in a way that's refreshing."
Earlier this afternoon, the president cemented his place in pro-life history by addressing the March by live satellite from the White House -- a first for any administration. From the Rose Garden, Trump vowed to continue what he's already started: rebuilding a culture of life. "Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life." Touching on the event's theme, "Love Saves Lives," the president reminded people, "The March for Life is a movement born out of love. You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation -- and you love every child born and unborn because you believe every life is sacred, every child is a precious gift from God."
After declaring, "We are with you all the way," he proved it. Adding to the crowd's excitement, the president broke the news that his administration was adding two more policies to an already long list of accomplishments on the issue. The first reversed a devastating Obama-era regulation that stopped states from removing certain types of providers -- including abortion providers -- from their state Medicaid programs. Naturally, President Obama wanted to put the brakes on the wave of pro-life sentiment sweeping through the states. We congratulate President Trump for allowing states to bring this forced partnership with abortion providers to an end. While the Congress hasn't defunded Planned Parenthood yet, dozens of local legislatures have tried -- only to be thwarted by the last administration's lawlessness. That ends today.
In conjunction with HHS, Trump also put some teeth to the new division of the agency's Office of Civil Rights by issuing a new regulation helping them safeguard conscience rights. Those new enforcement tools will guide HHS in dealing with health care violations from the beginning to end of life in 25 areas of law. No one should be forced by the government to participate in an abortion or assisted suicide. Health care insurers, plan sponsors, doctors, nurses, other professionals, and even churches who seek pro-life plans, will finally have an advocate in the government that will stop or address conscience violations.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), who's overseen one of the most pro-life years in House history, capped off a productive 12 months by speaking on a cause he's faithfully championed since joining Congress 20 years ago. To a raucous welcome, Ryan exclaimed, "How grateful are we to have a pro-life president back in the White House!" Putting special emphasis on the other victims of abortion -- the mothers -- Ryan addressed a topic that's gotten a lot of attention since last week's report on abortion regret. "One thing that gets lost is how compassionate the pro-life movement is," he said. "To help women who have gone through the pain of abortion, to help single mothers, to give them resources through thousands of pregnancy centers: This is the face of the pro-life movement."
For the thousands packed in the blocks between the Capitol and Washington Monument, it was a striking moment to see two of the most powerful men in the world carrying the torch for the unborn. And it was all the more significant because what grows the movement isn't politics. We aren't just winning because of good debates, Lauren DeBellis Appell points out, "or a well-crafted bill in Congress. All of those things have their place, but that's not what's going to transform hearts and change minds. Life is winning because technology always advances, it never retreats. Life is winning... one ultrasound at a time."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.