Montana lawmakers have voted down a bill that would have asked voters to change the state Constitution and ban abortion in the state. The proposal came in five votes shy of the two-thirds majority it needed — 100 out of Montana’s 150 lawmakers — to advance.
House Bill 337 would use a ballot measure to ask voters to consider changing the definition of a person in the Montana Constitution. The change would give full legal protections to fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos and fetuses. Effectively, it would ban all abortions.
Most Republicans in the House and Senate cast votes supporting the bill while all Democrats voted against it.
Other bills restricting access to abortion have already cleared the Republican-majority Legislature — but have not yet been signed into law. One would ban abortions at 20 weeks' gestation, another would restrict access to medication abortions and a third would require doctors to offer the opportunity to view an ultrasound before an abortion is performed.
Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has said he supports a 20-week abortion ban and is generally opposed to abortion care.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that the bill containing the proposal to ban abortion was contained in House Bill 337, not House Bill 339.