On the way to the March for Life this morning, I ran into Rick Santorum, the pro-life former senator and presidential candidate. Here are highlights from our conversation:

How do you think the Trump administration is doing on the pro-life issue?

Mike Pence is showing up to speak today. I think that's a huge signal to the pro-life community that he's serious about it.

If you look at Republican presidents in the past, even those who were seriously pro-life, they just didn't really feel they had the ability or desire to take the lead. I think they felt like this was an issue that is controversial … that therefore, on the margins they would try to be helpful but that they would never really speak out and lead.

Mike Pence is the really the first, strong committed evangelical vice president…. This issue is important to him, and he's letting the country know that.

I think a lot is going to happen in the pro-life movement in the next few years. Particularly with these court nominations. And when I say court nominations, I think this is the time when can see Roe begin to be eroded….

He's already done Mexico City….

Why Trump may do more for the pro-life cause than Bush did.

Trump doesn't listen to orthodox conservative thinking on this issue. George Bush had a bunch of advisers who, in my opinion, were not as pro-life as him and were risk-averse. They were looking at preserving capital. They had other issues that were more important….

I'm not saying it wasn't a rational decision. I think it was a rational decision.

I think Trump's in a different situation. I think he doesn't make that calculus very much. I think he just goes.

Would Trump deal away a pro-life judge to get something else from Chuck Schumer?

No. Not at all. He understands how important this issue is to his base — to this country. He put that list [of potential Supreme Court nominees] together.

Santorum argues that overturning Roe is part of returning power to the people.

You have a handful of people saying we're going to make the law on this issue, and really not allow the people to have a voice. And that won't change until the court changes. And I think we have an opportunity for that to happen.

The beauty of this, of repealing Roe, is that the public actually can have a voice. The reason we're marching here, and the reason this is such an abomination is the court decided it and took the voice away from the American public. In overturning Roe, the court … gives voice back to the American public….

In my conversations with him, he's been very clear: This isn't just an abortion issue. The abortion issue is the canary in the mineshaft for a whole host of other issues that have been made — and that would be made — that, as he says, take freedom away from the American public, and reside it in the elites up there on that bench, or here in Washington, D.C….

I think he sees [the fight over] the court as part of his populist attack on Washington, to take power from them. And it's maybe the most important thing he can do in returning the power to the people.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.