President Donald Trump will address the annual March for Life in person when the pro-life rally takes place on Friday, making him the first sitting president to do so.
The March for Life organization made the announcement Wednesday, which also was the anniversary of the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.
In a statement, March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said that she and her organization “are so excited for him to experience in person how passionate our marchers are about life and protecting the unborn.”
“President Trump and his Administration have been consistent champions for life and their support for the March for Life has been unwavering,” stated Mancini.
“We are grateful for all these pro-life accomplishments and look forward to gaining more victories for life in the future.”
In previous years, Trump, like other presidents, had addressed the March for Life rally at the National Mall, but did so via video message instead of being on the stage itself.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, celebrated the news of Trump’s in-person speech, calling it a very important step forward for the cause.
“President Trump has governed as the most pro-life president in history. His presence at the March for Life, the world’s largest pro-life event, signals a watershed moment for the Pro-life Movement,” said Dannenfelser in a statement Wednesday.
Pro-choice groups were more critical of the announcement, with NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue taking to Twitter to argue that the move was “a desperate attempt to divert attention from his criminal presidency and fire up his radical base.”
“Trump will be the 1st POTUS to attend the annual gathering of anti-choicers on Friday, which he announced today on the anniversary of #RoevWade [because] that's how he rolls,” she added.
While he once identified himself as “very pro-choice” in a 1999 interview, Trump has garnered strong support among the pro-life movement for his policies while president.
This has included reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, which prevents tax dollars from going to organizations that promote or fund abortions abroad, appointing pro-life judges, and cutting funds to the United Nations' Population Fund due to its ties to China’s forced abortion policy.
Last July, the National Right to Life Committee, reportedly the largest pro-life group in the United States, officially endorsed Trump for the 2020 election.
“… we are proud to endorse the only presidential candidate who stands for the unalienable right to life,” said NRLC President Carol Tobias in a statement at the time.
“From his first day in office, President Trump and his Administration have been dedicated to advancing policies that protect the fundamental right to life for the unborn, the elderly, and the medically dependent and disabled.”