12:30 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That’s so nice. Sit, please. We have tens of thousands of people watching us right down the road — tens of thousands. So I congratulate you. And at least we picked a beautiful day. You can’t get a more beautiful day.
I want to thank our Vice President, Mike Pence, for that wonderful introduction. I also want to thank you and Karen for being true champions for life. Thank you, and thank Karen. (Applause.)
Today, I’m honored and really proud to be the first President to stand with you here at the White House to address the 45th March for Life. That’s very, very special — 45th March for Life. (Applause.)
And this is a truly remarkable group. Today, tens of thousands of families, students, and patriots — and, really, just great citizens — gather here in our nation’s capital. You come from many backgrounds, many places. But you all come for one beautiful cause: to build a society where life is celebrated, protected, and cherished.
The March for Life is a movement born out of love. You love your families, you love your neighbors, you love our nation, and you love every child, born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God. (Applause.)
We know that life is the greatest miracle of all. We see it in the eyes of every new mother who cradles that wonderful, innocent, and glorious newborn child in her loving arms.
I want to thank every person here today and all across our country who works with such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure that parents have the care and support they need to choose life. Because of you, tens of thousands of Americans have been born and reached their full, God-given potential — because of you.
You’re living witnesses of this year’s March for Life theme. And that theme is: Love saves lives. (Applause.)
As you all know, Roe vs. Wade has resulted in some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world. For example, in the United States, it’s one of only seven countries to allow elective late-term abortions, along with China, North Korea, and others.
Right now, in a number of states, the laws allow a baby to be born [torn] from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong; it has to change.
Americans are more and more pro-life. You see that all the time. In fact, only 12 percent of Americans support abortion on demand at any time.
Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life. (Applause.)
Tomorrow will mark exactly one year since I took the oath of office. And I will say, our country is doing really well. Our economy is perhaps the best it’s ever been. You look at the job numbers; you look at the companies pouring back into our country; you look at the stock market at an all-time high; unemployment, 17-year low.
Unemployment for African American workers, at the lowest mark in the history of our country. Unemployment for Hispanic, at a record low in history. Unemployment for women, think of this, at an 18-year low. We’re really proud of what we’re doing.
And during my first week in office, I reinstated a policy first put in place by President Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City policy. (Applause.)
I strongly supported the House of Representative’s Pain-Capable bill, which would end painful, late-term abortions nationwide. And I call upon the Senate to pass this important law and send it to my desk for signing. (Applause.)
On the National Day of Prayer, I signed an executive order to protect religious liberty. (Applause.) Very proud of that.
Today, I’m announcing that we have just issued a new proposal to protect conscience rights and religious freedoms of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. So important. (Applause.)
I have also just reversed the previous administration’s policy that restricted states’ efforts to direct Medicaid funding away from abortion facilities that violate the law. (Applause.)
We are protecting the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society. But this movement can only succeed with the heart and the soul and the prayer of the people.
Here with us today is Marianne Donadio from Greensboro, North Carolina. Where is Marianne? Hello. Come on up here, Marianne. Come. (Applause.) Nice to see you, Marianne.
Marianne was 17 when she found out she was pregnant. At first, she felt like she had no place to turn. But when she told her parents, they responded with total love, total affection, total support. Great parents? Great?
MS. DONADIO: Wonderful parents, yes.
THE PRESIDENT: I thought you were going to say that. I had to be careful. (Laughter.)
Marianne bravely chose life and soon gave birth to her son. She named him Benedict, which means blessing.
Marianne was so grateful for her parents’ love and support that she felt called to serve those who were not as fortunate as her. She joined with others in her community to start a maternity home to care for homeless women who were pregnant. That’s great. They named it “Room at the Inn.”
Today, Marianne and her husband, Don, are the parents of six beautiful children, and her eldest son Benedict and her daughter Maria join us here today. Where are they? (Applause.) Come on over. How are you? That’s great.
Over the last 15 years, Room at the Inn has provided housing, childcare, counseling, education, and job training to more than 400 women. Even more importantly, it has given them hope. It has shown each woman that she is not forgotten, that she is not alone, and that she really now has a whole family of people who will help her succeed.
That hope is the true gift of this incredible movement that brings us together today. It is the gift of friendship, the gift of mentorship, and the gift of encouragement, love, and support. Those are beautiful words, and those are beautiful gifts. And most importantly of all, it is the gift of life itself.
That is why we march. That is why we pray. And that is why we declare that America’s future will be filled with goodness, peace, joy, dignity, and life for every child of God.
Thank you to the March for Life — special, special people. And we are with you all the way. May God bless you and may God bless America. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.
3:36 P.M. EST