Thursday evening, Vice President Mike Pence invited a group of March for Life leaders and allies to the White House for a last minute, private reception.
It was informal, almost familial—the thirty people gathered in Pence’s ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building have known one another for years, all working together to fight America’s abortion policies. For many, the moment was emotional, and as they greeted one another, they shared a running joke: “How long it has it been since you have been in here?”
For about an hour, over petit fours and coffee, they celebrated their success in getting this Administration to the White House and their hope that policy will turn in their favor.
“That was a first for me for sure,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, says. “I’ve met the vice president before, but I thought I would have to remind him of my name.” Instead, Pence knew exactly who she was, and he recognized her and others to thank them for their work.
Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway joined, as did Pence’s wife Karen and their daughter Charlotte. Other groups represented included Susan B. Anthony’s List, the Knights of Columbus, Students for Life, Care Net, Heartbeat International and Focus on the Family, Mancini says. Pence told the group how his calling to public office, she adds, “had to do with respect for the human person, helping to protect life” and that now “he is grateful to come to this position to continue to serve in that capacity and to have more influence.”
The moment, on the eve of the 43rd March for Life, was another sign that the anti-abortion movement’s political strength has reached its highest level since Roe v. Wade. On Friday, Pence, who has spoken to the group before, will join the march in person as vice president. Until now, no sitting vice president or president has ever attended. President Trump was expected to call the group via phone, as did presidents Ronald Reagan and both presidents Bush. Conway will also speak.
“The fact that the Vice President of the United States is supporting the March for life is deeply meaningful,” says Charmaine Yoest, senior fellow at American Values, who was also present Thursday evening. “We began the week with the President reinstating the Mexico City policy, the next day the House passed a measure to make Hyde Amendment permanent, and now the week ends with the vice president speaking to the March for Life, and then looking forward to the president naming his Supreme Court nominee next week, it is a remarkable start to this Administration.”
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