Thousands of anti-abortion activists and protesters carried posters and shouted slogans in support for the unborn on Friday, as they descended on Washington from various parts of the country for the annual March for Life rally.
President Trump addressed the crowds via video from the Rose Garden, saying he is committed to building a “society that is celebrated, protected and cherished,” and reaffirming his support for the movement.
He said he’s the first president to address the gathering in its 45-year history.
For anti-abortion activists like Karen Herzog from San Antonio, Texas, who has been attending the yearly rally since 2008, Mr Trump’s words are encouraging.
She represents an organisation that helps abortion clinic workers draw up an exit strategy when they are ready to leave the industry called ‘An Then There Were None.’
“I believe that this is a first for a president to show any kind of acknowledgment of the march. I’m very well pleased with that and I’m grateful for his support,” she said.
For protesters like Caroline from Virginia, the rally was an opportunity to share her experience of adoption with others.
She says the choice of giving her daughter up for abortion empowered her, while helping a couple “complete a family” that is now a part of her own.
A year into his presidency, Mr Trump has sought to curtail abortion rights by making rules and policy changes across agencies. He also preserved the Supreme Court’s conservative majority by getting Justice Neil Gorsuch confirmed.
Abortion-rights groups say Mr Trump’s actions amount to a sweeping rollback of reproductive rights.