House Speaker Paul Ryan declared during the annual March for Life rally in protest of abortion that "the pro-life movement is on the rise."
His remarks, during the 45th annual March for Life Rally in Washington, D.C., capped off a week of actions from the Trump administration to offer protections for medical workers who have religious or moral objections to abortion, as well as guidance for states on how to restrict Medicaid funding from going toward Planned Parenthood. Other actions in the first year included allowing employers to opt out of providing contraception for religious or moral reasons and nominating judges that are likely to side with abortion restrictions.
"Can we just thank God for giving us a pro-life president back in the White House?" said Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, before the crowd gathered on the national mall.
Before he spoke, the House passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which would hold any healthcare provider at the scene criminally accountable if they fail to help newborn babies after a botched abortion.
Ryan touted the bill, as well as others passed by the House, but not the Senate, that would cut off federal funding from facilities that also provide abortions, as well as a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.
"We strive to do this not with judgment in our hearts, but with compassion and with love for all of the victims," Ryan said of the legislation.
A Gallup poll found that while 49 percent of people identify as "pro-choice" and 46 percent see themselves as "pro-life," the totals have shifted since 1995, when 56 percent of people identified as "pro-choice" and just 33 percent identified as "pro-life."
Still, other divides remain when survey participants are asked more specific questions about abortion. Fewer people support abortions later in a pregnancy, but more people support abortions in other circumstances, such as when a pregnancy is the result of a rape, or in cases where a pregnancy endangers a woman's life.
Planned Parenthood has blasted the recent actions by the Trump administration and Congress, warning that women will lose access to a vast array of medical services that their clinics provide.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president for the organization, said in a statement that the Trump administration's actions showed it was "laser-focused on using their power to control women's bodies and lives."
"Their latest action encourages states to try to block access to care at Planned Parenthood and control where women can go for health care," she said. "Without Planned Parenthood, many of our patients would lose access to health care altogether — either because there are no other providers in their community or because other clinics cannot serve all of our patients."
The rally against abortion occurs every year on or around the passage of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal nationwide. This year's theme was "Love Saves Lives."
Members of the audience held signs that read "Defund Planned Parenthood." March for Life president Jeanne Mancini urged the audience to pressure Congress and the Trump administration to end federal funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions.
By law, federal dollars cannot go toward paying for most abortions because there are exemptions for rape, incest and when a pregnant woman's life is in danger. The funds instead go cancer screenings, contraception and testing of sexually transmitted infections. Anti-abortion advocates argue that even so this frees up funding for abortion and that the funding should go to other medical providers instead.
Mancini called the members the "most pro-life Congress in a generation."