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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Personhood Measure Passes House

Matthew Monforton
Montana Legislature

The Montana House Thursday approved a measure to ask voters if they want to define “personhood” from the moment of conception – a move that could outlaw abortion and even some birth-control methods. However, the constitutional amendment is still unlikely to appear on a state ballot.

The measure, authored by Bozeman Republican Matthew Monforton, would ask Montana voters if they want to effectively turn back the clock on abortion law, to the way it was before the Roe Versus Wade legalized the procedure nationwide: “Abortion law would be determined not by the courts but by this body, the legislature,” Monforton said in House floor debate.

Democrat Tom Woods of Bozeman says, as a molecular biology professor, he sees some value to the arguments that a fertilized egg is a person, “But what I cannot abide is changing our constitution to coerce me into following your belief system,” Woods added.

The bill passed 54 to 46. Montana law requires constitutional amendments to garner 100 votes in both houses, so unless the “personhood” amendment can get 46 votes in the Senate, which is unlikely, it will not appear on the 2016 ballot.

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