A Montana senator from Kalispell went before lawmakers today to ask for statewide restrictions on when women can have abortions. Republican Al Olszewski introduced his bill to ban late-term abortions this morning in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Montana’s current law does not allow abortions after a fetus if viable, meaning it can survive outside the womb. Senate Bill 282 defines when that viability is and, if passed, would outlaw abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Olszewski says the bill will also provide options to save the life of a fetus when the pregnancy might threaten the life of the mother.
"When this tragic situation occurs, and the unborn child, or fetus, is viable, the mother shall have the ability to save the life of her child and herself," says Olszewski.
Senator Olsewski says when a women needs to end pregnancy after 24 weeks, there will be two options: deliver the fetus through labor, or undergo cesarean section.
"Once the pregnancy is terminated and the viable fetus is outside the womb, the child is now provided all medical means of support and resuscitation available in Montana," says Olszewski.
Bowen Greenwood with the Montana Family Foundation testified in support of the bill.
"Our organization is strongly pro-life, and this bill is a great example of that philosophy," Greenwood says.
S.K. Rossi with the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana testified against the bill, saying it violated federal law.
"This bill forces a mother into much more invasive and dangerous medical procedures to end her pregnancy, and there is no option post viability for the safety of the mother in this bill, to terminate her pregnancy, so that in itself is patently unconstitutional and in conflict with Supreme Court precedent," says Rossi.
Althea Reichert, a 16-year-old high schooler in Bozeman also asked lawmakers to reject the bill.
"I’m here to ask you today to allow me the chance and to create the future that gives me the choice about what to do with my body," Reichert says.
The Senate Judiciary committee did not immediately vote on the bill, but will likely do so sometime this week.