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Mike Pence becomes first sitting vice president to address the March for Life

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the March for Life on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence addressed the March for Life Friday — becoming the first sitting vice president or president to do so in person.

Pence told the 44th annual March for Life that although he has attended the March in the past, the 2017 event “is a good day, the best day I’ve ever seen for the March [for] Life, in more ways than one.”

The vice president added that he is humbled to be the first vice president to have the “privilege” of attending the March and that he spoke on President Donald Trump’s behalf.

“President Trump actually asked me to be here with you today,” Pence said. “He asked me to thank you for your support, for your stand for life and for your compassion for the women and children of America.”

Pence said that the Trump administration will work to block taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortion procedures and will nominate a Supreme Court justice “in the tradition of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia,” whose death left a vacancy on the high court that has yet to be filled.

“Life is winning again in America,” Pence said, citing pro-life majorities in Congress, and adding that “today is a celebration of that progress.”

Pence said being pro-life requires “respect and compassion for every American.”

“Let this movement be known for love, not anger; for compassion, not confrontation,” he said. “When it comes to matters of the heart, there is nothing stronger than gentleness.”

Pence was introduced by his wife Karen Pence, who joked that this is not her family’s first March for Life, but it was the warmest.

Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to the president, told the crowd that the pro-life movement has the support of the Trump administration.

Previous Republican presidents have addressed the gathering by phone. Trump did not, but Pence again reiterated that he was there on the president's behalf.

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