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Bevin Celebrates Anti-Abortion Bills Advancing In Legislature

Ryland Barton

Amid massive protests from teachers in the state Capitol Thursday, Gov. Matt Bevin spoke at an anti-abortion rally celebrating several bills that would restrict the procedure.

The state legislature is poised to pass several anti-abortion bills, including one that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks — earlier than many people realize they are pregnant.

During Thursday’s rally, Bevin called himself the “most pro-life governor in America” and said restricting abortion protects human life.

“There has never been such an individual born at any stage of gestation that has ever turned into a chicken, or a fish or a cow. This is a human being,” Bevin said. “It’s a human being from the beginning, it’s a human being all the way to the end.”

Bevin has signed several anti-abortion bills since he became governor in December 2015, but nearly all of them have either been temporarily or permanently struck down by federal courts.

This year’s anti-abortion measures are even more restrictive. Legislative leaders have said they deliberately undercut the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that bans states from blocking abortions before the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb — around the 24th week of pregnancy.

The ACLU of Kentucky has said it will challenge some of the measures if they become law.

Bevin accused abortion rights advocates of promoting eugenics — the practice of controlling human breeding for selective traits.

“They are targeting the poor and they’re targeting people of color. They have from the beginning, they continue to and anybody who says otherwise is not being intellectually honest,” Bevin said.

Members of the Kentucky Legislative Black Caucus and the Women’s House Democratic Caucus held a news conference Thursday morning to oppose rhetoric used by some anti-abortion advocates that equates abortion to lynching, slavery and the Holocaust.

Rep. Attica Scott, a Democrat from Louisville, called the comparisons “beyond appalling.”

“In no way is it just or fair to compare a woman’s legal right to choose what happens with her own body to the evil legacy of slavery and lynching in our country and the Holocaust during World War II,” Scott said.

“This type of language poisons the democratic well, and has made it all but impossible for many others and me to work with some legislators on other issues because of their unyielding stance.”

Lawmakers have four more days in this year’s legislative session.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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