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March for Life president previews speakers at 44th annual protest of Roe v. Wade

Activists participate in the 2016 March for Life as they march up Constitution Avenue Jan. 22, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The annual event marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Jeanne Mancini, the president of the March for Life, is hard at work preparing for the 44th annual March for Life, which will take place in Washington, D.C. later this month.

The annual March for Life typically occurs on or near Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. But in inaugural years, the event is typically bumped a few extra days in order to accommodate the incoming president’s ceremony. The 2017 March for Life will take place on Jan. 27, only a week after President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office.

In an interview with TheBlaze, Mancini said that preparing for the 2017 March for Life reminds her of the first March for Life she helped to run in 2013, also an inaugural year.

“There’s a lot of interest,” she said. “I think people are just so excited.”

Among the speakers at the 44th March for Life will be Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager who has been named senior advisor to the incoming president.

“She’s a remarkable pro-life woman,” Mancini said. “She’s just a remarkable woman too. She has a great family and a very successful professional life, running the polling company, doing very strategic work, and of course she’s the first woman to ever successfully run a presidential campaign.”

Noting Saturday Night Live’s frequent portrayals of Conway, Mancini added that it’s “fun to have someone who’s got the eye of the world on them to be able to use that for the good, for the March for Life.”

Other speakers at the March will include Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson, Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director and founder of And Then There Were None, actress Karyme Lozano, author and radio host Eric Metaxas and Bishop Vincent Matthews of the Church of God in Christ.

Mancini added that others have been invited, and she anticipates that the list will grow to include more speakers, including pro-life lawmakers.

“Stay tuned, they’ll be announced closer to the March for Life,” she said.

Mancini also detailed some of the logistics behind planning the march, including obtaining permits, working with the three different police forces that have jurisdiction over parts of the march’s route and inclement weather.

“In the four-and-a-half years I’ve been working with the March for Life, we had sub-zero temperatures one year, that was awful,” she said. “Then we had a blizzard, a blizzard like no other, then we had one year where it was 45 degrees, but it had snowed the day before, so there were some issues with that. Then one year it was in the 30s, and probably because that was my first year and I only had one layer of gloves, it felt the worst to me.”

“I was just praying Hail Mary’s, thinking I had frostbitten fingers,” she said, laughing. “We had a sign language interpreter for the first time that year, and he walked off the stage after five minutes, the wind was just so bitter cold.”

Mancini urged participants to plan ahead in order to dress for potential cold weather and encouraged marchers to bring heat warmers for their gloves. She said additional tips and resources — including a guide for how to use Washington’s public transportation system — are available on the organization’s website.

Tens of thousands of pro-lifers are expected to attend.

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