Trump becomes first president to address March for Life

President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE became the first sitting president to address the March for Life in person on Friday, telling the crowd of anti-abortion advocates that “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”

“From the first day in office I've taken historic action to support America's families and to protect the unborn,” Trump said at the annual march against abortion in Washington, D.C. 

Trump spoke for about 10 minutes with anti-abortion advocates and lawmakers standing behind him, running down the list of things he has done to advance the “pro-life” cause while slamming Democrats as extreme on the issue.

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“They are coming after me because I am fighting for you, and we are fighting for those who have no voice, and we will win because we know how to win,” he said.

Trump has made abortion a key issue in his 2016 and 2020 campaigns. The issue is of vast importance to a core part of his base: conservative, evangelical Christians.

His administration has made several changes that were pushed by anti-abortion advocates, including removing Planned Parenthood from a federal family planning program and banning U.S. aid for foreign nongovernmental organizations that provide or promote abortions.

He has also placed a priority on protecting the “conscience” and religious rights of health care providers and consumers. 

“We’ve taken decisive action to protect religious liberty,” Trump said. 

“Religious liberty has been under attack all over the world, and frankly very strongly attacked in our nation. … But we are stopping it.” 

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The Supreme Court will hear a case this year challenging a Trump rule that allows employers with religious objections to contraception to opt out of covering it in their insurance plans. 

Another rule issued by the administration that was blocked in court would have penalized medical organizations that require employees participate in abortions or other procedures that violate their consciences. 

His campaign also launched a coalition of anti-abortion advocates Friday that will work to reelect the president in 2020. 

“Democrats have embraced the most radical and extreme positions taken and seen in this country for years and decades or you could even say for centuries,” he said. 

But Democrats and abortion rights supporters argue it is Trump who is out of touch with the mainstream voters and that his actions will hurt him in 2020. 

They also accuse Trump of misleading the public on Democrats’ positions. 

“He takes refuge in his ability to whip up a radical anti-choice base, spewing falsehoods when he feels threatened,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. 

"Of course he’s turning to deception and disinformation about abortion to gin up a vocal and extreme minority as he faces the escalating reality that his presidency is crumbling around him.”