About 20 students were among the thousands gathered on the National Mall Friday for the 45th annual March for Life rally.
Members of GW Students for Life, GW Catholics and the GW College Republicans met in Kogan Plaza to join a large crowd of anti-abortion activists for the rally and ensuing march to the Supreme Court – the first time the three student organizations have coordinated an event together, group members said.
Students at the march said joining together at the rally was a way to unite and amplify the voices of pro-life students, which they said are often not represented on campus.
Aidan Johnston, the president of GW Students For Life, an anti-abortion group, said he started the organization to ensure the pro-life side of the abortion debate had a presence on campus. This is the organization’s first year of hosting events, he added.
“I noticed when I got to this campus that there wasn’t a pro-life group although there were three pro-choice groups on campus,” he said. “I thought our voice needed to be heard better on campus, so we started GW Students for Life.”
Olivia Morris, a member of GW Catholics who participated in the march, said hosting pro-life events on campus and in D.C. was a way to encourage a discussion and an exchange of ideas between parties.
“It’s just really inspiring because I think as a GW student, sometimes I feel like the voice of someone who is pro-life can get drowned out a bit because it’s definitely not the most popular opinion on campus,” she said. “Coming to this march is really refreshing.”
Major Republican political leaders, including more than 30 members of the House of Representatives attended the rally. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence addressed the crowd by video stream from the White House and House Speaker Paul Ryan joined attendees on the National Mall.
Protesters held signs with slogans like, “Women’s rights begin at conception,” and “Everybody who is for abortion has already been born,” – a quote by former President Ronald Reagan.
“Life is winning in America because love saves lives,” Pence told rally-goers. “This pro-life generation should never doubt: we’re with you. We will restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”
Trump, the first president to make remarks at a March for Life rally, said during a 10-minute speech that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that struck down abortion bans, had led the United States to adopt some of the most “permissive” abortion laws in the world.
“You come from many backgrounds, but you come for a beautiful cause,” he said. “The March for Life is a movement born out of love. You believe that every life is sacred and every child is a precious gift from God.”