It took 44 years, but a sitting Vice President has finally spoken at the annual March for Life rally in Washington, DC. The event kicked off today to a crowd of many thousands on the National Mall, and Vice President Mike Pence was on hand to deliver a rousing speech in person. He is now the highest ranked government official to ever speak at the event since its inception in 1974, the year after the Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
President Trump himself is expected to give a remote address from the White House tomorrow, as previous presidents, Reagan and George W Bush, did before him.
Pence’s speech, which briefly descended to boilerplate campaign rhetoric, was otherwise pitch-perfect on the central issue of the day. He highlighted the many ways “life is winning”, with abortions steadily declining nationwide, and pro-life legislation advancing in many states over the last decade.
Though the progress of the pro-life movement is vital (literally), the reasons it has succeeded are just as important, and Pence highlighted them exhaustively.
Life is winning in America for many reasons. Life is winning through the steady advance of science, that illuminates when life begins more and more every day. Life is winning through the generosity of millions of adoptive families who open their hearts and homes to children in need. Life is winning through the compassion of care givers and volunteers at crisis pregnancy centers and faith based organizations who minsiter to women in cities and towns across the country. And life is winning through the quiet counsels between mothers and daughters, between grandmothers and grandaughters, between friends across kitchen tables, and over coffee at college campuses. The truth is being told, compassion is overcoming convenience, and hope is defeating despair. In a word, life is winning because of all of you.
And perhaps most important of all, Pence emphasized the tone that the pro-life movement has taken from the beginning - that of compassion and respect.
As it is written, let your gentleness be evident to all. Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation. When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness. I believe we will continue to win the hearts and minds of the rising generation, if our hearts first break for young mothers and their unborn children, and if we, each of us, do all we can to meet them where they are, with generosity, not judgment.
Pence visibly choked up delivering this powerful message to the faithful (and unfaithful) marchers for life. Pence is caricatured as a hearltless conservative, but he truly believes that love, not hate, is how you save the lives of the most vulnerable among us. I don’t agree with him on much, but I give him full credit for his leadership here.