Thousands of marchers take part in annual March for Life in nation’s capital

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump addressed thousands of protesters by video during the annual March for Life on the National Mall Friday.

“We are protecting the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society,” Trump said, calling the marchers “a truly remarkable group.”

Trump becomes the first president to address the gathering by video in its 45-year history, organizers said. Last year, Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Trump’s absence.

“I think it’s very powerful and that speaks to what America is moving toward, hopefully,” said Olivia Samper, who came to the nation’s capital with a group from Florida State University.

Many of the marchers described Trump’s video address as the day’s highlight.

“I think it makes a huge statement as to what he believes and what he’s gonna work for,” said Johanna Hager of Newtown, Pennsylvania.

Participants gathered on the National Mall at 12th Street for an hourlong rally before marching up Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court and Capitol.

“We’re here just to peacefully stand up for something believe in….. for those unborn children,” said Ben Peterson from Michigan.

More than 50,000 people were expected to take part in the event, marking the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Roe V. Wade, which legalized abortion.

“I’m hoping that this will help and turn this culture around to the right way,” said Terri Hardgrave from Annapolis, Maryland.

Counterprotesters were expected to greet the marchers outside the high court’s building. Abortion-rights leaders are expected to play major roles in many of the women’s marches also planned around the country this weekend. A March on the Polls is planned for Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial.

Abortion rights opponents march around the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the March for Life. The event marked the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Abortion rights opponents march around the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the March for Life. The event marked the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
March for Life participants watch as President Donald Trump addresses the crowd on Jan. 19, 2018. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
March for Life participants watch as President Donald Trump addresses the crowd on Jan. 19, 2018. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Volunteers pass out signs to abortion rights opponents near the National Mall on Jan. 19, 2018. More than 50,000 people were expected to take part in the annula March for Life, marking 45 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Volunteers pass out signs to abortion rights opponents near the National Mall on Jan. 19, 2018. More than 50,000 people were expected to take part in the annual March for Life, marking 45 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Protesters gather on the National Mall for the annual March for Life to await an address from President Donald Trump on Jan. 19, 2018. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Protesters gather on the National Mall for the annual March for Life to await an address from President Donald Trump on Jan. 19, 2018. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
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Abortion rights opponents march around the U.S. Capitol on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the March for Life. The event marked the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalizing abortion. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
March for Life participants watch as President Donald Trump addresses the crowd on Jan. 19, 2018. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Volunteers pass out signs to abortion rights opponents near the National Mall on Jan. 19, 2018. More than 50,000 people were expected to take part in the annula March for Life, marking 45 years since the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
Protesters gather on the National Mall for the annual March for Life to await an address from President Donald Trump on Jan. 19, 2018. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. (WTOP/Mike Murillo)

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.


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