1

Bills restricting abortion in Montana one vote from governor’s desk

The bills face a final, binding vote in the Senate before going to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, who has strongly indicated he will sign them. (Stan Parker/file photo)

(KPAX) Three bills to restrict or further regulate abortion in Montana are one vote away from going to the governor for his signature into law, after Republicans in the state Senate endorsed the measures Thursday on straight party-line votes.

The Senate also advanced a bill that would place a referendum before Montana voters in 2022, asking them whether a fetus born alive during an abortion should be a legally protected person.

The endorsement of the four bills came after nearly two hours of compelling, emotional debate by supporters and opponents – but the outcome on each was the same, with 31 Republicans in favor and 19 Democrats against.

“This is not about politicians practicing medicine or playing doctor,” said Sen. Tom McGillvray, R-Billings, a supporter of the bills. “This is about human beings looking out for human beings. That’s a good thing to do.”

The first three bills would ban abortions in Montana after 20 weeks of pregnancy, make it much more difficult to obtain abortion-inducing, prescription drugs in the state – including a ban on distributing them on college campuses – and require physicians to offer women requesting an abortion the chance to see an ultrasound of the fetus, and hear its heartbeat.

They face a final, binding vote in the Senate before going to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, who has strongly indicated he will sign them.