VP Mike Pence supports abortion opponents - WNEM TV 5

VP Mike Pence supports abortion opponents

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(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd gathered in Washington for the annual March for Life rally that ending taxpayer-funded abortion is an important priority of President Donald Trump.

He said the Trump administration would "work with the Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers, and we will devote those resources to health care services for women across America."

A budget provision known as the Hyde Amendment already bans federal funding for Medicaid coverage of most abortions. Conservatives would like to see the rule made into a permanent law.

Speaking to a crowd gathered near the Washington Monument, Pence said the nation's founders, in the Declaration of Independence, intended "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" to be for all Americans, including the unborn.

He accused the U.S. Supreme Court, in its landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that legalized abortion, of having "turned away from these timeless ideals."

He said President Donald Trump would be nominating a Supreme Court justice next week who "will uphold the God-given liberties enshrined in our Constitution."

Hundreds from Mid-Michigan made their way to Washington, D.C. for the march. 

Led by Bishop Joseph Cistone, teens and adults from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw made the pilgrimage to protest the Supreme Court ruling in 1973 that legalized abortion. They boarded buses at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Shields. 

"In all my years of attending the March for Life, I have never felt such energy, enthusiasm and hope among the people gathered in Washington, D.C.," Cistone said. "It was historic and optimistic to hear a vice president of the United States actually welcome us to the capitol and express to us solidarity in our desire to ensure that all life is respected and protected, even the life of the unborn."

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Americans remain deeply divided on abortion

The latest Gallup survey, released last spring, found that 47 percent of Americans described themselves as pro-choice and 46 percent as pro-life. It also found that 79 percent believed abortion should be legal in either some or all circumstances.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said that poll shows why abortion-rights supporters shouldn't despair. She also said Republicans were taking actions that would result in more illegal abortions and deaths of pregnant women.

"The vast majority of Americans support Roe v. Wade and support the legal right to abortion," Hogue said.

Friday's march comes less than a week after one of the largest mass demonstrations in the city's history, the Women's March on Washington, which drew more than half a million people opposed to Trump on issues including abortion.

Although the landmark Supreme Court decision was Jan. 22, 1973, organizers of the march noted on their website that Trump was sworn in Jan. 20 and the National Park Service assigned Jan. 27 as the next available date for their event.

Mancini said she had planned to participate in the women's march until organizers dropped an anti-abortion group as an official partner. She said its failure to embrace different views on abortion was a missed opportunity.

The March for Life routinely draws thousands, even in harsh weather. Last year's was held in a blizzard that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the nation's capital.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan issued the following statement:

The fact is that a vast majority of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion, as they have for the four decades it has been legal procedure in this country. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans believe that abortion should remain safe and legal.

The bottom line is that abortion is a deeply personal decision, and must be left to each individual woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor. That means without government interference, political games, or bad science putting up unnecessary obstacles. Every pregnancy is unique, and every woman’s decision about her pregnancy — whether to parent, choose adoption, or have an abortion — should be respected and valued. No woman should feel shamed or judged because of her decision.

At the end of the day, no organization does more to prevent unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion than Planned Parenthood. If opponents of abortion were serious about lowering the abortion rate in this country, they’d be working alongside Planned Parenthood to expand people’s access to effective birth control, sex education, and preventive health care -- rather than elbowing their way into the personal medical decisions of families across the country. 

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation) / The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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