Ready for another fight over crowd size? The 44th March for Life takes to the National Mall in Washington, with the live program scheduled to start at noon, and the march at 1 pm ET. Vice President Mike Pence and top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway will speak to the gathered demonstrators for the pro-life cause, but be prepared for more disputes over just how many demonstrators have gathered. NBC News sets the stage for the later debate:
For the first time in years, abortion opponents will have all the political momentum when they hold their annual rally Friday on the National Mall.
The March for Life, held each year in Washington to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, said it will have one of its biggest-name speakers in years: Vice President Mike Pence.
The March for Life said that neither a president nor a vice president has ever addressed the event now in its 44th year. And one of President Donald Trump’s top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, is also on the speakers’ list.
Organizers told the National Park Service in their permit application they expect 50,000 participants. Yet Trump insisted on the eve of the rally that the crowd would be far larger, saying “a lot of people are gonna be showing up.”
Last year, inclement weather dampened the turnout, but pro-life advocates said that the media “vastly” underestimated turnout:
Contrary to the New York Times, there were vastly more than “hundreds” at the Washington March for Life 2016 and more than the vague “thousands” indicated by the Washington Post. Given this year’s historic winter weather threat, organizers were delighted that at least 40 or more thousands of pro-life supporters still stayed to march the full length of the march route before rushing home.
Mainstream media, however, took advantage of the adverse circumstances to manufacture the lowest numbers yet of their usual far-too-low estimates of participants in the annual march this year.
These photos and the video posted by LifeSite clearly reveal the total lack of credibility of the New York Times’ and Washington Post’s efforts to present an honest estimate of the numbers at the march. As reported Thursday, “The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues launched its #CoverTheMarch campaign that day demanding the media cover this year’s March for Life and cover it fairly.” Well, once again, it hasn’t.
Expect more of these fights after the march concludes, especially given the back-and-forth this week over the inauguration crowd estimates. The media will be keen to compare turnout this year not to previous March for Life events, but to the turnout for the Women’s March on Washington last weekend. Perhaps they’ll also compare the count of broken windows, burned-out cars, arrests, and litter. I suspect that won’t be the case, however.
The biggest story of this march is that the demonstrators have more political momentum behind them now than in eight years — and maybe longer than that. With a Supreme Court opening and a vice president on the dais, it’s a moment that many of these activists have prayed they would see. Let’s hope those prayers get fulfilled.
We have a live stream courtesy of NBC News. Follow along with all of the speeches, and with the other events as they take place.
Live Video 01/27/2017
Here are the speakers for today’s event:
March for Life confirmed speakers are: Kellyanne Conway, Senior Counselor to President Trump; Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA); Rep. Mia Love (R-UT); Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); Benjamin Watson, tight end for the Baltimore Ravens; Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood Director and founder of “And Then There Were None”; Karyme Lozano, Mexican telenovela star; Eric Metaxas, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author and host of The Eric Metaxas Show; Bishop Vincent Mathews Jr., President at Church of God In Christ World Missions; and Vice President of the United States Mike Pence.
I’ll do some light live blogging of the events for the first hour. As usual, updates will go to the top in reverse chronological order.