WASHINGTON — Downtown commuters should plan ahead Friday as thousands of people are expected to gather on the National Mall for this year's March for Life rally.
The March for Life is a pro-life advocacy rally that attracts people from all across the United States every year. However, this year, something will be very different about the event.
The March for Life announced that President Donald Trump will address the event crowd in person. In 2018, President Trump was the first sitting president ever to directly speak to March for Life participants, but he spoke from the White House Rose Garden.
"From the appointment of pro-life judges and federal workers, to cutting taxpayer funding for abortions here and abroad, to calling for an end to late-term abortions, President Trump and his Administration have been consistent champions for life, and their support for the March for Life has been unwavering," Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, said.
The rally will begin at noon at 12th Street on the National Mall, with participants marching along Constitution Avenue toward the US Capitol Building and Supreme Court.
The president's planned attendance to the march, combined with the expected crowd, will lead to some traffic disruptions around downtown D.C.
Metro said it will close the Smithsonian Station Friday morning at the request of the United States Secret Service. The transit agency said Orange, Blue and Silver lines will pass through the station, without stopping, from system opening through the early afternoon hours.
The Metropolitan Police Department said it also plans to close several streets Friday, from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m., in anticipation of the March for Life as well. Those streets include:
- F Street from 6th Street, NW to 7th Street, NW
- 6th Street from E Street, NW to G Street, NW
- 3rd Street from Independence Avenue, SW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
- 4th Street from Independence Avenue, SW to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
- Constitution Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to 14th Street, NW
- 7th Street from F Street, NW to Jefferson Drive, SW
Many March for Life attendees traveled to D.C. days before Friday's scheduled event on the National Mall.
Roughly 8,000 teenagers attended "The Life is VERY Good" rally at Eagle Bank Arena on the George Mason University campus, which the Diocese of Arlington sponsors.
"We love doing this event, because it provides great hospitality for all these young people," Kevin Bohli, executive director of the diocese’s office of youth ministry, said.
Arlington Diocese Bishop Michael Burbidge said the Thursday rally, which also features live music, provides attendees with a taste of what is to come on Friday.
"This rally is welcoming youth and young adults from all around the country, and so we thought the night before is a great way to prepare them," he said.
Phoenix teenager Kai Sablan attended Thursday’s rally in Fairfax. He said he enjoys being around people who share his pro-life viewpoint.
"It’s positive energy," Sablan said. "If someone feels the same as me, I expect the same vibes as them as I’m giving off."
Other teenagers said they were excited to go to Friday’s march, especially given President Trump's attendance. Teenager Emma Parker from Haymarket, Virginia, said she believes the President's decision to participate in this year's March for Life will energize the pro-life movement.
"I think that it’s something to look at when your president is supporting something that you also support," she said.