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Chitwood: New ultrasound law faces court hearing

 

It’s been nearly 12 years since an uninvited guest appeared at my office and asked for an opportunity to visit with me. Little did I know that visit would so dramatically impact my life.

After introducing himself and stating that he was there to talk with me about a pressing subject, the man asked if I would view a few minutes of a video. He warned me of graphic and disturbing content as he opened his laptop, tapped the mouse pad, and gazed at the screen along with me.

He was right. The images were both intensely graphic and deeply disturbing. And they were immediately and permanently etched upon my memory. The video showed abortions being performed. I watched in horror as, one after another, tiny babies were dismembered and extracted, piece by piece, from the shelter of their mother’s womb. Early term. Late term. Horror.

As he closed the laptop and placed it in his satchel, I sat speechless. The sanctity of human life had been, for me, an annual sermon topic and a cause for which I was glad to offer tenuous support, never wanting to heap guilt upon those who had abortions in their past,, nor be associated with the extremists burning and bombing abortion clinics. But at that moment, I felt condemned by my unwillingness to mount a passionate defense of the lives of unborn children. And I knew that had to change.

On Jan. 7, I celebrated the victories won for the unborn in Kentucky. I thanked God for courageous leaders in the Kentucky House and Senate, the convictional leadership of Gov. Matt Bevin, and those who had worked, hoped, and prayed for far many more years than I. While the murderous scourge of abortion hasn’t completely disappeared in our state, the new restrictions set in place have surely preserved the lives of many little boys and girls who would have otherwise died. Some of those children have quite possibly already been born.

Yet, on March 23, in the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse in Louisville, the American Civil Liberties Union argued before U.S. District Judge David Hale that, contrary to Kentucky law, an expectant mother considering an abortion should not have the opportunity to see ultrasound images from inside her womb to understand fully the risks and consequences of her decision.

While Kentucky’s new law provides protection for both mother and baby, the ACLU believes the U.S. Constitution provides no such protection. Ironically, the ACLU essentially argued that our state’s most vulnerable class can be discriminated against based upon their age, sex, race, or for no reason at all, subsequently declared unworthy to exist, and have their lives extinguished without as much as a passing glance from those who hold the child’s life in hand.

Because of Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear’s timid position on the ultrasound law and his outright refusal to defend Kentucky’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks, Gov. Bevin asked his general counsel, Steve Pitt, to ensure strong representation against the ACLU and a strong defense for the unborn. Beshear didn’t attend the hearing and his staff sat in silence. But, thankfully, Steve Pitt spoke with boldness to represent the interests of the unborn, expectant mothers, and our state lawmakers.

While we await Judge Hale’s decision, pray with me that he will have eyes to see that life in the womb is no less sacred than any other stage of life and leave in place a law that Kentucky wants and unborn children deserve.

Paul Chitwood is the Executive Director-Treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

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