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Upcoming March for Life speakers include Paul Ryan, a former NFL player, and a Democratic lawmaker

Pro-life demonstrators march toward the Supreme Court on Jan. 27, 2017, during the 44th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. The 2018 March for Life event is scheduled for Jan. 19. (Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will address the 45th annual March for Life next week, he announced Wednesday on Twitter.

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, said in a statement that it is “an honor” that Ryan will speak at the pro-life gathering on Jan. 19.

“Speaker Ryan has been an unwavering champion for the pro-life cause since taking office, and continues to utilize his post to promote the inherent dignity of the human person at all stages of life,” Mancini said. “We are grateful for the significant strides U.S. Congress made in the last year to protect and defend the most innocent among us, and are confident that 2018 will see even more pro-life progress with Speaker Ryan leading the charge.”

The March for Life takes place each year in Washington, D.C. on or near Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Organizers say they estimate that over 100,000 people travel from all over the country to attend the March for Life, making it the largest pro-life gathering in the world.  The theme of this year’s event is “Love Saves Lives.”

Who else will speak at the March for Life?

Ryan will attend the rally at the National Mall preceding the gathering’s march to the Supreme Court. March for Life organizers said he will be joined by several of his House colleagues including Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.).

Michigan Rep. Dan Lipinski will also address the rally. Lipinski, a pro-life Democrat, has previously addressed the rally.

"If we are going to change this country's laws, we need to have pro-life members of both parties," Lipinski told March for Life attendees in 2011, The Hill reported. "It's not easy being a pro-life Democrat. There are people who don't want me there. But I tell you, I have said I will never back down."

Politicians won’t be the only ones addressing the crowd. Speakers include:

  • Kay Coles James, the new president of The Heritage Foundation
  • Former NFL player Matt Birk and his wife, Adrianna Birk
  • Pam Tebow, the mother of former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow
  • Sr. Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life, an order of Catholic nuns that assists newborns and their mothers

Organizers say more speakers will likely be announced closer to the event. Last year, Mike Pence became the first sitting vice president to address the gathering.

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