Mike Pence and Tim Kaine arrive for the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, on October 4, 2016.
Pence: We'd never punish women for getting an abortion
01:45 - Source: CNN

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"Life is winning," Pence declared Friday at the March for Life rally

Pence became the highest-ranking WH official to speak at the rally in its 43-year history

CNN  — 

In his first major address as vice president, Mike Pence championed a cause that he tirelessly spoke about on the campaign trail: his anti-abortion stance.

“Life is winning,” Pence declared Friday at the March for Life rally in Washington.

His address to the anti-abortion rally marked the highest ranking US official to speak to the group in person. It’s also not the first time he has addressed the group.

“More than 240 years ago, our founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages. They declared these truths to be self-evident, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” he said to a sizable crowd who braved the cold for the speeches.

Pence referenced the Supreme Court case of Roe vs. Wade, saying the court had “abandoned” ideals in the first amendment but now things were turning around with the new administration.

“That is evident in the election of pro-life majorities in the congress of the United States of America. But it is no more evident in any way than in the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America, and a president who I proudly say stands for the right to life,” the vice president said, joined by his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, and daughter, Charlotte.

It was friendly territory for the former Indiana governor, whom many viewed as an evangelical and conservative Christian presence on the Republican ticket. Pence spoke often and freely of his opposition to abortion on the campaign trail, which is deeply linked to his Christian faith.

Friday’s message follows President Donald Trump re-signing the so-called Mexico City executive order, banning non-governmental groups from performing and promoting abortions.

In one of his biggest solo appearances on the campaign trail in October, Pence received a standing ovation from Liberty University students as he declared, “I’m pro life and I don’t apologize for it.”

During his speech, Pence said, “I believe a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable. The aged. The infirm. The disabled. And the unborn.”

Pence promised on the trail that if elected, he and Trump would “embrace a culture of life in America” and sign a bill banning late-term abortions.

He also promised to uphold the Hyde Amendment, which he said would prevent the use of taxpayer dollars to fund “that which millions of Americans find to be morally objectionable.”

During the Voter Values Summit in September, Pence told a Washington ballroom of conservative activists that he would “send Roe versus Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs,” a line that elicited cheers and applause to the hundreds of attendees. The line was a constant crowd-pleaser on the trail ranging from Iowa to Florida.

Pence, who described himself on the stump as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican,” said at the time, “I’m truly grateful for Donald Trump’s strong commitment to the sanctity of life. He understands the moral imperative of advancing the cause of life, and we’ve spoken of it many times.”

He also frequently referenced his anti-abortion rights initiatives as governor of Indiana, pointing to millions of dollars of additional funding that he provided to crisis pregnancy centers so that “women facing crisis pregnancy have more choices before them and can choose life.”