In an unprecedented move, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway will speak at the annual anti-abortion March for Life this Friday in Washington, D.C. Following on the heels of President Donald Trump's reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, many reproductive rights activists are seeing their fears confirmed: This is poised to be one of the most virulently anti-choice administrations we have seen in decades.
This Friday, when thousands of anti-choice activists descend on Washington, D.C., for the annual March For Life, they will be joined, for the first time in the event's history, by a sitting White House official: Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump's campaign manager and now White House counselor, will be speaking at the march, offering official support to anti-choice activists around the country.
She promoted the march during a recent appearance on Fox and Friends, while denigrating the post-inauguration historic March for Women events that drew millions of attendees across the country, and about which Conway previously commented that she "didn't see the point."
CONWAY: I would like to say that many of the pro-lifers I know were completely unwelcome and shut out from this quote 'march by women.' Of course there will be the annual march for life this Friday. I will be attending. We will have representation from the administration. This is a pro-life president. Their voices are heard. Yesterday, he also instituted Mexico City Policy, so that we as a nation are not sending money to countries that perform abortions and sterilizations. The taxpayers should not be funding that.
EARHARDT: Do you think the mainstream media is going to be reporting on the pro-life march, like they did this other march?
DOOCY: Hope so.
CONWAY: Well, we'll see. I'll be counting that, Ainsley, definitely, but we certainly are open to that. We're expecting a very robust march. These marchers come out in the snow, the sleet, and the rain, like the postmen. They come out every year, and this year they're coming, I think, to celebrate the election of a pro-life president, and all that that means for the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.
The "Mexico City Policy" to which Conway referred, also known as the "Global Gag Rule," was first enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and prevents U.S. foreign aid from going to any international family planning organization which performs or even discusses abortion as an option for pregnant patients. The rule has been rescinded and reinstated by alternate administrations ever since, and on Monday, Trump signed an order putting the rule back into place.
This reinstatement of this dangerous policy, and Conway's proud support for and unprecedented planned appearance at the March for Life, are two more major signs of a new White House that will be aggressively hostile to reproductive rights and bodily autonomy.
Trump himself has a shifting record on the subject, and he has surrounded himself with vehemently anti-choice voices, from Vice President Mike Pence to Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price to Conway herself, whose career has consisted of extensive support and management of anti-choice politicians and decades of involvement in anti-choice advocacy.
This blunt endorsement from the White House of a stridently anti-choice event is an important signal to reproductive rights activists that their fight is about to get even more arduous.
Alexandra De Luca, Deputy Press Secretary for EMILY's List, commented in a statement to Shareblue:
In week one of his presidency, Donald Trump has sent a chilling message to women that taking away their access to health care is one of his top priorities. Rather than focusing on creating jobs or growing the economy, President Trump has taken his first four days in office to sign multiple executive orders putting women’s health at risk and endorsed an effort to prevent women from making their own health care decisions. The fact that Donald Trump and his administration are following the same anti-woman playbook Republicans have driven for decades is just another example of Trump diving headfirst into the Washington swamp he promised to drain.