President Trump will become the first President to address the March for Life via live video feed. This action by Trump is following precedent from past Presidents who have spoken to the March for Life with a prerecorded message or via telephone. According to Lifenews, the past three Republican Presidents prior to Trump (Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W Bush) all addressed the March for Life as well with pro-life remarks. “[Their] remarks were typically pre-taped or they were aired via a live phone call to March for Life participants. With better technology available today, a live video stream is more easily accomplished.”
Trump was scheduled to send remarks to the March for Life last year along with adviser Kellyanne Conway. However, with a last-minute change in schedule, Mike Pence made an appearance and spoke at the really instead.
Last year, Trump criticized the media in his first interview as President for for purposely ignoring the March for Life. Trump was asked a question about the Women’s March and after briefly answering, brought up the March for Life which was taking place that Friday. Trump then called out the media for ignoring the March for Life’s huge presence in the nation’s capitol each year.
President Trump is also creating a new division within the Department of Health and Human Services which will help protect nurses and doctors at risk of losing their licenses or jobs because of refusing to perform abortions. During the presidency of George W. Bush, conscience protections were enacted for medical workers who did not want to facilitate or participate in abortions. However, President Barack Obama rescinded those protections. Now, Trump is creating a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to once again protect medical personnel from performing abortions because of a “moral objection.”
According to an HHS press release, the Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino stated:
Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced. No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice. For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, but change is coming and it begins here and now.”
Severino was formerly Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation.