The Latest: VP Mike Pence Supports Abortion Opponents

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the March for Life in Washington, D.C., by opponents of abortion (all times local):

12:30 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd gathered in Washington for the annual March for Life rally that ending taxpayer-funded abortion is an important priority of President Donald Trump.

He said the Trump administration would “work with the Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers, and we will devote those resources to health care services for women across America.”

A budget provision known as the Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding for Medicaid coverage of most abortions. Conservatives would like to see the rule made into a permanent law.

Speaking to a crowd gathered near the Washington Monument, Pence said the nation’s founders, in the Declaration of Independence, intended “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to be for all Americans, including the unborn.

He accused the U.S. Supreme Court, in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that legalized abortion, of having “turned away from these timeless ideals.”

He said President Donald Trump would be nominating a Supreme Court justice next week who “will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution.”

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12:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump used his Twitter account to express support for abortion opponents attending the March for Life in Washington.

“The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching — you have my full support!” Trump said in a tweet.

The March for Life is usually held on the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision — Jan. 22 — but it was pushed back this year because of Trump’s inauguration.

Vice President Mike Pence will address the march — the first sitting vice president to do so. Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway will also speak.

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11:55 a.m.

Thousands of abortion opponents are gathering in the shadow of the Washington Monument for an annual rally that’s taken on new energy this year with President Donald Trump in office.

Vice President Mike Pence will address the crowd gathered for the March for Life, the first time a sitting vice president has done so. His visit prompted extra security for the annual rally, which marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Glenn Miller, a 60-year-old cabinet maker from Coventry, Connecticut, says this is his fourth march and it’s easily the most enthusiastic. He says Trump has given a voice to those who oppose abortion and that the previous administration “didn’t care.”

He said he voted for Trump reluctantly because he didn’t feel like he had a choice. He says he’s been encouraged by the administration’s actions on abortion so far.

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For the first time in years, abortion opponents will have all the political momentum when they hold their annual rally on the National Mall.

The March for Life is held each year to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. The group says Vice President Mike Pence will address Friday’s rally. The group adds no president or vice president has ever spoken previously at the event, now in its 44th year.

One of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, also is on the speakers’ list.

Trump has signed an executive order banning U.S. aid to foreign groups that provide abortions. And Republicans in Congress are seeking to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood and to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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