Donald Trump says it is a “profound honour” to be the first president to speak at an annual anti-abortion event in Washington.
In his speech at the March for Life rally, the US president said “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House”.
He slammed the Democrats for what he called the most “radical and extreme positions” on abortion from any political party “in possibly centuries”.
“Sadly the far left is actively working to erase our God-given rights, shut own faith-based charities, ban religious believers from the public square and silence Americans who believe in the sanctity of life,” Mr Trump said.
“They are coming after me because I am fighting for you, and… together we are the voice for the voiceless.”
Mr Trump used the speech to praise his own “historic” anti-abortion action since taking office, including appointing judges who oppose abortion, cutting taxpayer funding for abortion services and vetoing pro-abortion policies.
He called on Congress to pass legislation that would “prohibit late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in their mother’s womb”.
In the speech, Mr Trump also thanked the “tens of thousands” of people who attended the event, particularly the “strong women, amazing faith leaders and brave students who carry on the work of pioneers before us”.
“Every life brings love into this world,” he said, prompting loud cheers from the crowd.
“Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting.”
In a 1999 interview, Mr Trump said he was “pro-choice in every respect”.
During his 2016 campaign for the Republican nomination, Mr Trump said his views had changed and that he was now opposed to abortion in most cases.
When asked hypothetically what would happen if abortion were outlawed, Mr Trump said there would have to “be some form of punishment” for women who have them.
This prompted a backlash that managed to unite abortion rights activists and opponents, even including organisers of the March for Life.
Asked to clarify Mr Trump’s position, the Republican Party initially said the issue should rest with state governments.
Mr Trump later said doctors, not women, should be punished for illegal abortions.
Since then, Mr Trump has become a darling of the anti-abortion movement.
Now, as he heads into the 2020 election, he continues to reach out to the white evangelical voters who have been among his most loyal backers.
Past presidents who opposed abortion, including Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, steered clear of personally attending March to Life to avoid being too closely associated with the contentious issue.
Chair of the American Conservative Union and a close ally of the White House, Matt Schlapp said Mr Trump’s appearance at the event was significant.
“I’ve had people be moved to tears over the fact that he’s going,” Mr Schlapp said.
“It’s a big deal.”