Montana Public Radio

Montana Senate Advances 4 Anti-Abortion Bills

Feb 26, 2021

Four bills that aim to further regulate access to abortion in Montana were endorsed by the state Senate Friday.

Each bill passed mostly along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor of the proposals and Democrats voting against. 

All four bills were originally introduced in and have passed the House.

Republican Sen. Keith Regier presented House Bill 136 on the Senate floor. It would ban abortions at 20 weeks. 

“A pregnant woman is carrying a unique individual that House Bill 136 will protect. Vote green.”

Democratic Sen. Diane Sands spoke in opposition, saying the bill is based on misinformation about abortion care. 

“Here we go again — politicians practicing medicine without respect for the physicians or for the women who need their medical care in a very dire situation.” 

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte asked lawmakers to send him the bill to sign during his State of the State Address. He also said he’s supportive of another bill that would require doctors to care for infants born alive after an attempted abortion. Experts say that scenario is extremely rare and infanticide is already illegal.

House Bill 167 outlines that policy, and would put the question to voters as a ballot referendum. It was amended by the Senate, meaning it’ll require another vote in the House before passing. It does not require Gianforte’s signature. 

The Senate also endorsed House Bill 171, which would ban doctors from prescribing medication abortions via telehealth, and House Bill 140, which would require doctors to offer pregnant women the opportunity to view an ultrasound before an abortion.