Thousands of anti-abortion activists gathered in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the 45th annual March for Life, which marks the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which made abortions legal under federal law. President Donald Trump made an appearance, via video, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to address the event's participants. Earlier Friday morning, hundreds had filled Capitol One Arena for a mass and concert before the march.
Lis Kelly of Notre Dame, Ind., background, and her friend Brother Tomasio Venditti of Steubenville, Ohio, right, wear white gowns depicting the Lady of Guadalupe, the Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, during an anti-abortion rally on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the annual March for Life.
Demonstrators began the day with an early youth rally and mass. The rally featured musical guests Emily Wilson, Out of Darkness and Ryan Bomberger, according to the rally's website.
President Trump addressed the large crowd via video. He said he's committed to building "a society where life is celebrated, protected and cherished."
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U.S. President Donald Trump waves after addressing March for Life participants and pro-life leaders in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018.
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Anti-abortion activists participate in a rally at the National Mall prior to the 2018 March for Life, Jan. 19, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Activists gathered in the nation's capital for the annual event to protest the anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in 1973.
House speaker Paul Ryan gave a speech at the event. "Truth is on our side. Life begins at conception," Ryan said. "I am so proud of the work this movement has done to protect women."
The enthusiastic crowd hears from a number of speakers, including Pam Tebow — the mother of former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow — and U.S. Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Lipinski and Chris Smith.
Demonstrators carry signs that read, "I am the pro-life generation" and "I speak for the weak."
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Two women pose for a selfie with their poster as anti-abortion activists from around the U.S. gather in Washington, DC Jan. 19, 2018 for the annual "March for Life."
Organizers expected between 50,000 and 100,000 people to attend, National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst told News4.
Some Catholic schools in the D.C. area closed for the day so students and teachers could attend the March.
The rally began at noon and was followed by a march up Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court and Capitol Buildings.
2018 marks the 45th March for Life, which began in protest of the Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Protesters have returned annually, including during a blizzard in 2016.
This year's theme is "Love Saves Lives."
Several politicians spoke at the event, including President Donald Trump, who spoke via video, and House speaker Paul Ryan. Other officials including Sen. Ted Cruz and Vice President Mike Pence voiced support over social media.
Marchers were greeted by a sunny day with temperatures in the 50s.