Pence to March for Life: 'Let Your Gentleness be Evident to All'

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Mike Pence told the March on Life today that "life is winning again in America" and emphasized that the movement must show "compassion for the women of America."

Pence was the highest-ranking government official to address the march on the National Mall in more than four decades of the event's existence.

"This is not our first March on Life, but it is the warmest," Karen Pence said in introducing her husband. "Our family has been to many marches for life over the past 16 years."

"I have never met anyone who has more compassion for women, for children and for the American people," she said of the vice president.

Pence called it "the best day I've ever seen for the March for Life in more ways than one."

"I'm deeply humbled to be the first vice president of the United States to ever have the privilege to attend this historic day," he said, adding that President Trump sent him and "asked me to thank you for your support, for your stand for life, for your compassion for the women and children of America."

Trump was at the White House meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Pence reminded the crowd of one of Trump's first actions this week, reinstating the Mexico City Policy to bar nongovernmental organizations that provide or support abortions from receiving federal funds, and vowed to work with Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion providers and redirect funds to healthcare services.

On next week's expected announcement of a Supreme Court nomination, Pence promised a justice who would "uphold the God-given liberties" in the Constitution in the model of late Justice Antonin Scalia.

"A society can be judged by how we care for our most vulnerable ... we've come to a historic moment in the cause of life and we must meet this with respect and compassion for every person in America," Pence said.

He added that "compassion is overcoming convenience and hope is defeating despair."

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation," Pence said, emphasizing again that "gentleness" was the key factor as well as showing "respect for the dignity and worth of every person."

"We will not rest until we restore a culture of life," he added.

The Center for Reproductive Rights live-tweeted during Pence's remarks, "Pence keeps speaking of 'compassion.' True compassion means preventing deaths from unsafe abortion—not bringing them back. Pence speaks of protecting the 'vulnerable' but doesn't mention low-income women bearing the brunt of the anti-choice agenda. Pence says he shows 'respect for the dignity and worth of every person.' What about women?"

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement that "voters sent clear pro-life voices in President Trump and Vice President Pence to the White House, a great victory and answer to prayer for those of us who value life."

“As a party and a nation, we are dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, and that must include the most vulnerable," McDaniel said.