Gov. Bevin signs pro-life bills

Originally published in Western Recorder –

(Extended article)

On Feb. 8, hundreds of pro-life Kentuckians gathered in the Rotunda of the Capitol in Frankfort to watch Gov. Matt Bevin ceremonially sign into law two pro-life bills.

During the ceremony, Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, presented Bevin with a “Guardian of Life” award.

The bills, one putting a ban on late-term abortions and the other requiring a woman seeking an abortion earlier in her pregnancy to undergo an ultrasound beforehand, were officially signed in January.

Among those in attendance at the signing ceremony were many Kentucky Baptists, identified by the KBC signs they held stating, “I’m Kentucky Baptist and I’m pro-life” and “Abortion is killing Kentucky’s future.”

“We as Kentucky Baptists believe that life begins at conception and that every life has value,” Ken Felty, pastor of Liberty Avenue Baptist in Berea, said.

“I attended this signing to show my support and approval of what Gov. Bevin has done to protect the lives of the pre-born child,” Felty added. “I also wanted our legislators to know that I stand with them for life.”

Bevin took a moment to have the crowd give a cheer of appreciation to all the men and women in the legislature who championed the pro-life bills that were signed.

“Somebody asked me why I would want to get involved in this. Why I would want to sign pro-life legislation,” Bevin said. He replied, “Why would I not?”

“What they said to me was that it really was not the role of a governor to do this because it was too controversial,” he continued. “Well, there have been a few other controversial things that have happened throughout the course of history,” he said, citing the Boston Tea Party, the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and more.

“But I’ll tell you what. It is worth it. The reason government does exist and the reason you have chosen these men and women you just applauded is because controversy is sometimes needed to do the right thing,” he continued.

“This is exactly why this matters,” Bevin said, as he held baby James Rhodes, whose mother was in the crowd. “This is why what seems controversial to some seems like an absolute slam dunk, no brainer, why are we even arguing about this, to everyone who actually gives thought to this. This is why.”

Noting that the legislation was passed by both Republicans and Democrats, he continued, “Life, the sanctity of human life, the respect for human life, the protection of the innocent, the vulnerable being protected by a government that could harm them but instead is used for their good and protection, that does not know party.”

He added, “These are the things that matter. These should not be controversial.”

After his speech, Bevin, still holding the baby, signed the ceremonial bills. Chitwood then presented to Bevin the “Guardian of Life” award.

“To Gov. Bevin, I offer deep appreciation for his leadership and influence that helped bring these bills into law,” Chitwood said. “But in addition to Gov. Bevin’s advocacy for life in the womb, we thank God that He has given us a governor to advocate for life in the cradle, the classroom, in a career, and in dignified care until natural death.”

Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort and president of the KBC’s Public Affairs committee, noted, “Kentucky Baptists have long been at the forefront of the battle for the dignity and worth of every human life. Our biblical commitments require us to value every person.

“I hope Kentucky Baptists know how much they were a part of this stunning turnaround,” he continued. “From our prayers to our God and our pressure on politicians to our participation at the polls, everything mattered. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” (WR)