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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Knudsen blocks proposal to put abortion rights on the ballot

A voter drops off mail-in ballots at the Yellowstone County Court House June 2, 2020.
Nicky Ouellet
Yellowstone Public Radio

Montana’s top attorney has blocked a proposed ballot initiative that would enshrine protections for abortion access in the state Constitution.

Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s office has deemed the proposal “legally insufficient,” Montana Free Press first reported. The office’s analysis said it contains contradictory language and exceeds the limits of what one ballot initiative can do.

Citizen ballot initiatives cannot advance without Knudsen’s OK.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana is behind the proposal that would prohibit the state from limiting access to pre-viability abortions. The organization plans to challenge Knudsen’s decision in court.

Two of Knudsen’s prior blocks on unrelated ballot initiatives were challenged in court. The Montana Supreme Court overturned one and upheld the other.

If successful in court, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana and other supporters would be allowed to start gathering signatures for the proposal. They need to secure endorsements from 10% of all qualified voters from across the state for the proposal to appear on the 2024 ballot.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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