Editor’s note. This appeared in LifeBeat News, the official publication of South Carolina Citizens for Life, NRLC’s state affiliate.
Evangelist Dr. Alveda King, niece of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., headlined the South Carolina Citizens for Life Proudly Pro-Life Weekend January 6-7, 2017, held despite snow, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures in Columbia, S.C.
A record crowd showed up at Seawell’s Banquet Center to hear Dr. King’s message and testimony about her pro-life journey.
She praised South Carolina Citizens for Life (SCCL) for its accomplishments over the years. She pointed to a copy of the SCCL graph showing the 15 pro-life laws enacted since 1990 and the 59% decline in abortions.
She also admonished, “This is not the time to burn out. This is also not the time to rest on our laurels. This is the time to push through.”
Brenda Cerkez, executive director of Family Honor and former executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, served as the emcee for this year’s dinner, and former Governor David M. Beasley gave a rousing introduction of Dr. King. SCCL President Lisa Van Riper and executive director Holly Gatling presented 14 awards for outstanding contributions to the Palmetto State pro-life movement.
This year, SCCL honored retired South Carolina state Senator Mike Fair, R-Greenville, with the Pro-Life Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of service in the S.C. House and Senate. He sponsored or co-sponsored all 15 pro-life laws, and abortions declined by nearly 60 percent during his tenure.
Sen. Fair was instrumental in getting the Choose Life South Carolina car tag law enacted through the Department of Motor Vehicles after the U.S 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the original law.
State Senator Larry Grooms, R-Beaufort, and Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville were honored with the 2016 Legislator of the Year award for their extraordinary efforts to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that effectively ends abortion on demand in South Carolina after an unborn baby has reached the age of 20 weeks after fertilization.
The President’s Award for 2016 went to Michael Acquilano, executive director of the South Carolina Catholic Conference and Mark Hendrick the former director of the Office of Public Policy, South Carolina Baptist Convention for their collaborative efforts to pass the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The first ever Pro-Life White Coat Award was presented to scientists and health care professionals who advocated for passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
Recipients were Thomas C. Austin, M.D., and his father Tom L. Austin, M.D., Vera Bailey, Doctor of Public Health, Bob Barnwell, R.N., BSN, MS, Meg Brinley, Ph.D., Stuart Hamilton, M.D., Rep. Robert Ridgeway, M.D. (D-Clarendon), Lynn Smith, R.N., and Manny Venegas, M.D.