This weekend, thousands of pro-life activists travelled to Washington, D.C. to voice their support for the rights of the unborn. In addition to the March for Life, many activists also attended the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life at Georgetown University.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands marched in the 44th annual March for Life, the world’s largest pro-life demonstration. Since 1973, pro-life Americans have gathered on the National Mall to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized on-demand abortion in the United States.
The atmosphere at this year’s march was especially optimistic, as pro-life activists are confident that the Trump administration and Republican majority in Congress will usher in a new era of pro-life policies.
Recently, hopes were fueled by President Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy. First signed into law by Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City Policy forbids U.S. government funding to any international group that promotes or provides abortions.
Vice President Mike Pence’s presence at the march also reinforced the administration’s commitment to the pro-life cause.
Pence assured those in attendance that the Trump administration “will not rest, until we restore a culture of life in America for ourselves and our posterity.”
Senior Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway echoed the Vice President’s message.
“This is a new day, a new dawn, for life,” Conway told a cheering crowd.
Georgetown’s pro-life organization was among those participating in the march.
Right to Life President Amelia Irvine (COL ’19) told The Georgetown Review that the group is optimistic about the future of pro-life policies.
“We are hopeful that President Trump and the Senate will nominate and confirm a justice to the Supreme Court who believes in the constitutional right to life for the unborn.”
Irvine also described that the March for Life as a much more positive and hopeful event than the Women’s March.
“That was a march born out of anger and frustration,” she added.
On Saturday, Georgetown hosted the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life. The Conference focused on the question of how to establish a “truly pro-life politics” in today’s age of hyperpartisanship.
The conference began with a keynote address from Reggie LittleJohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers. The organization is an international coalition which opposes forced abortion, gendercide and sexual slavery in China.
Later, a panel discussion moderated by John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, focused on the challenges facing the the pro-life movement and offered suggestions on how to overcome the Roe v. Wade decision.
The panel, which included New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, agreed that the Right to Life movement needs to focus on building a culture of life in America as well as eliminating the distractions that sidetrack the movement.
Yet, unlike some pro-life activists, the panelists expressed doubts about what a Trump administration means for the rights of the unborn. They cited Trump’s comments on torture, women, and refugees to support their concerns.
H*yas for Choice protested the conference by tabling outside the front gates and leading chants during the event.
In a statement to The Georgetown Review, H*yas for Choice Co-President Brinna Ludwig said, in part, that “[w]e viewed our protest as mechanism to register our dissent with the anti-choice, anti-LGBTQ values that the conference promotes.”
“Protesting the conference displayed [the H*yas for Choice’s] dissent with the University’s privileging of certain viewpoints and identities,” Ludwig added.