In his first major address after assuming office, Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Pence's appearance makes him the highest-ranking official in U.S. history to address the anti-abortion group.
On Jan. 27, Pence took the podium during the March for Life gathering at the nation's capital. The Vice President asserted that the pro-life movement advocating against the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Roe v. Wade decision was gaining power in the country.
"Life is winning in America and today is a celebration in that progress," Pence said, according to Fox News. "We've come to a historic moment in the cause of life and we must approach it with compassion for every American. Life is winning in America because of you."
The crowd received Pence's words enthusiastically, meeting his statements with applause.
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"Let this movement be known for love," Pence added. "Not anger. For compassion. Not confrontation."
The event marked the 43rd year in a row that pro-life activists gathered in Washington D.C. to protest Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made women's access to abortions a legal right nationwide. Estimates of the event's crowd size have yet to be released.
Speakers at the march included Pence, President Donald Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway, Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Republican Sen. Jodi Ernst of Iowa.
On Jan. 26, Pence had privately met with leaders of the March for Life group at the White House. They reportedly discussed how pro-life voters had helped propel the Trump-Pence ticket into the White House and their aspirations to restrict abortion access nationwide, according to Time.
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Senior fellow Charmaine Yoest of American Values, who attended the meeting, praised the Trump administration for reinstating the Mexico City executive order prohibiting non-government organizations from offering abortion services.
"The fact that the Vice President of the United States is supporting the March for Life is deeply meaningful," Yoest said. "We began the week with the president reinstating the Mexico City policy ... and now the week ends with the vice president speaking to the March for Life, and then looking forward to the president naming his Supreme Court nominee next week, it is a remarkable start to this administration."
Pence, who had instituted some of the strictest abortion laws in the country while serving as the governor of Indiana, had vocally promoted a pro-life agenda while campaigning during the presidential election. Pence's presence on the Trump ticket appeared to have paid off: the president won by the white evangelical voting bloc by 80 percent on Election Day, The Washington Post reports.
During the presidential race, Pence repeatedly pledged that Trump would appoint Supreme Court justices who would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade, CNN reports.
In September 2016, Trump stated during the Voter Values Summit that his and Trump's election would "send Roe versus Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs."
On Jan. 27, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 70 percent of U.S. voters believe that Roe v. Wade should be upheld, while only 26 percent of respondents were against the ruling, according to Politico.