Kentucky Governor Signs Pro-Life Bill Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 9, 2017   |   2:16PM   |   Frankfort, Kentucky

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin joined a huge crowd of pro-lifers Wednesday for a rally that included a ceremonial signing of two historic pro-life laws.

The Northern Kentucky Tribune reports pro-lifers filled all three levels of the Kentucky Capitol rotunda during the Rally for Life, hosted by the Kentucky Right to Life Association. The rally is an annual event, but this year’s celebration was special because the state legislature passed two bills to protect unborn babies from abortion in January.

“We have a chance to lead this nation from a moral and spiritual perspective that is desperately needed,” Bevin said, joined by more than a dozen state lawmakers. “We must continue to fight this scourge that is the taking of innocent life. It’s worth it, America is worth it, and Kentucky is going to lead the way.”

One of the new laws, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, prohibits abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies can feel pain.

The second law, the Ultrasound Informed Consent Act, requires medical staff to perform an ultrasound prior to the abortion and allow the woman to see it if she chooses. It also requires the medical staff to describe the image of the unborn child, its size, organs and other features and allow the mother to hear the baby’s heartbeat.

Bevin held a ceremonial signing of the two laws Wednesday during the rally. Both received strong bi-partisan support in the legislature, despite abortion activists’ protests.

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“What seems controversial to some seems like a slam dunk, no-brainer, ‘why are we even arguing about this,’” Bevin told the pro-life crowd, the State Journal reports. “This legislation was passed by Republicans and Democrats. The sanctity of human life, respect for human life, protection of the innocent … that is not something that is ‘this party’ or ‘party that.’ If in fact we believe preserving an innocent life is worth fighting for, then the journey, indeed, has only just begun.”

Kentucky Right to Life said the rally was its “largest ever,” with pro-lifers filling the rotunda and spilling out into the hallways of the Capitol.

The 20-week abortion ban is in effect; however, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the ultrasound bill right after Bevin signed it into law.

Kentucky was the 16th state to enact a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in January. Together, these laws potentially are saving thousands of babies’ lives. There were at least 5,770 late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another approximate 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks, the CDC reports.

Kentucky lawmakers have been trying to pass legislation such as the ultrasound bill for years, but the legislation always failed to pass the Democrat-controlled state House. Reuters reports 2017 is the first year that Republicans have had a majority in the Kentucky House of Representatives since 1921.

Bevin’s administration also has been cracking down on the abortion industry in the state. One abortion facility, EMW Women’s Clinic in Lexington, was forced to shut down after state inspectors caught it masquerading as a doctor’s office and performing abortions without a license. State health investigators also found unsanitary conditions inside the facility, according to the Courier Journal.

As a result, Kentucky has just one abortion facility left in the whole state.