President Donald Trump to attend national March for Life on Friday

In a historic first, President Trump will be the first sitting U.S. president to attend and address the March for Life in person.

Catholic News Agency

“See you on Friday…Big Crowd!” the president said Wednesday in a retweet of a video from last year’s march, posted by the national March for Life account.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said in a statement that the organizers of the Washington, D.C., event are “deeply honored” to welcome Trump to the march.

“He will be the first president in history to attend and we are so excited for him to experience in person how passionate our marchers are about life and protecting the unborn,” she said.

She also praised the efforts Trump and his administration have made in increasing legal protections for the unborn.

“From the appointment of pro-life judges and federal workers, to cutting taxpayer funding for abortions here and abroad, to calling for an end to late-term abortions, President Trump and his Administration have been consistent champions for life and their support for the March for Life has been unwavering,” Mancini said. “We are grateful for all these pro-life accomplishments and look forward to gaining more victories for life in the future.”

Many of Trump’s pro-life policies – such as the restoration and expansion of the Mexico City Policy, which bars U.S. aid to foreign organizations that perform or promote abortions as a means of family planning – have been praised by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, while his crackdowns on immigration have frequently drawn criticism from the bishops.

Other political speakers at the March for Life this year will include First Lady of Louisiana Donna Hutto Edwards, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, state senator Katrina Jackson, D-LA, and Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ.

While Trump will be the first U.S. president to address the March in person, President Ronald Regan and President George W. Bush also delivered messages to the March for Life remotely via telephone in previous years.

In his 2004 message, Bush thanked the marchers for their “devotion to such a noble cause” and encouraged them to “continue with civility and respect to remind our fellow citizens that all life is sacred and worthy of protection,” the New York Times reported.

In 2017, Vice President Mike Pence became the highest-ranking politician to address the March for Life in person. He encouraged attendees to let the pro-life movement be known “for love, not anger…let it be known for compassion, not confrontation.”

In 2018, U.S. Speaker Paul Ryan spoke at the March for Life while President Trump addressed attendees of the march via a videocast from the White House Rose Garden.

Last year, Trump also addressed the March via a pre-recorded message, which was introduced in person by Vice President Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence.

“When we look into the eyes of a newborn child we see the beauty of the human soul and the majesty of God’s creation, we know that every life has meaning and every life is worth protecting,” the president said last year. “I will always protect the first right in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life.”

Featured image by Addie Mena/CNA

COMING UP: Colorado residents celebrate life and urge others to protect unborn children

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Thousands of people raised their voices Jan. 11 and marched in the Celebrate Life March and Rally outside the Colorado State Capitol to call for human rights for unborn babies and urging people to sign a petition to get Initiative 120 on the 2020 ballot, which seeks to ban late-term abortions in Colorado.

The celebration began with a special mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception celebrated by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila followed by the rally and march on the west steps of the state capitol.

“No matter what culture of death we live in, no matter what words of hate are spoken to us, no matter what persecution we experience…have the courage to proclaim the dignity of life from the moment of conception until natural death,” Archbishop Aquila told the crowd during the rally.

This celebration is part of a nation-wide effort to raise awareness around the hundreds of thousands of abortions that take place every year in the U.S., resulting in the deaths of unborn children and calls for state legislatures and policies that protect human life.

Among the speakers at the rally was Victor Hernández, a middle school student from St. John the Evangelist on Loveland, who shared his pro-life essay about how his mom considered aborting him when she learned she was pregnant but changed her mind.

The annual Celebrate Life March and Rally was held Jan. 11 at the Colorado State Capitol. Thousands gathered to defend life and show their support for Initiative 120, a ballot proposal that seeks to ban abortions after 22 weeks in Colorado. (Photo by Brandon Young)

“She chose to continue her pregnancy and take care of a baby at age 16. Abortion was not an option. She had no idea of how to take care of a baby. She knew that continuing her pregnancy was not going to be easy, but she did it anyway. She gave up her dreams… People have many excuses for making abortion happen, there is no excuse to justify an abortion. I know my mother did everything she could to provide for me, she had no excuses,” Hernández said.

Keynote speaker was Ramona Treviño, former director of a Planned Parenthood, who shared her emotional testimony of the power of prayer and her transformation to an activist who now fights for human life.

“All my time at Planned Parenthood is often a distant memory for me. What isn’t a distant memory, what will never be a distant memory, are the thousands of preborn babies who are legally slaughtered every day in the U.S., all in the name of choice. Shamefully I was once an accomplice to those murders until God intervened… I stand before you this afternoon all by the grace of God and the divine mercy of Jesus Christ,” Treviño told the crowd.

This year, the rally had a different focus and centered around Initiative 120, which would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks through birth, with the only exception being if the mother’s life is at risk.

“No one has the right to terminate a life. And it’s time as a state that we put some common-sense guardrails in there and protect these preborn children,” said Jeff Hunt of Colorado Christian University, who attended as a volunteer signature collector for Initiative 120.

Colorado is one of several states that allows unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to birth. Under initiative 120, a person conducting a late-term abortion could be subject to having a medical license suspended for a least three years and would be subject to a fine, but no jail time. The initiative would not impose a penalty on a woman receiving the abortion.

In 1967, Colorado was the first state to eliminate abortion restrictions, but this could change if Initiative 120 reaches the November ballot and state residents vote to restrict abortion laws. To qualify for the Colorado November ballot, supporters must collect 124,632 valid signatures by March 4.

The community of Frassati Catholic Academy led this year’s march. (Photo by Brandon Young)

Hunt also noted that young people are involved in and care for this issue despite all the peer pressure in their lives today.

“Young people are engaged in this issue. They care deeply about it. They watch their brother and sister on a sonogram printed and put on the refrigerator of the wall,” Hunt said. “And they’re not buying that belief that it’s just a clump of cells. There is a human being there. We’ve got to work to protect them.”

Archbishop Aquila concluded his speech by inviting registered voters to defend the dignity of life and protect unborn children during the upcoming elections in Colorado.

“We hope in November 2020, you and the citizens of Colorado will have the chance to protect unborn children, mothers, and fathers,” the Archbishop said.

For more information and to sign Initiative 120, visit www.duedatetoolate.com.