By Dave Andrusko
You would think that Dr. Claire Putman must have rubbed elbows somewhere along the line with television’s Dr. Marcus Welby. As described by Brian McKeithan, she is almost too good to be true.
Never mind that she aborts unborn babies; she’s Bozeman, Montana’s only abortionist. “The closest clinics that openly provide elective abortions are in Helena and Billings,” McKeithan, writing for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Why the article and why now? Putman’s closing her doors. “She is closing her private practice in part because of financial pressures. But she has felt differently about her work as an OB-GYN since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that guaranteed abortion as a right.”
She mostly performs “medication” (chemical) abortions at her SHE Health. “Putnam’s clinic doesn’t have the equipment or staff necessary for surgical abortions, and she said that local hospitals have not allowed her to use their facilities for those operations,” McKeithan writes.
“Montana has five clinics that openly provide elective abortions, none of which are in Gallatin County,” according to McKeithan. “Bozeman Health, which governs Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital and many Bozeman health care providers, does not perform any elective abortions.”
Bozeman Health, the organization that governs Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital and many of Bozeman’s health care providers, doesn’t allow their providers to perform elective abortions. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
“The only time termination is done at Bozeman Health, it is not considered elective because there is an imminent danger to the patient’s life,” said Dr. Kris Bodnar, a Bozeman Health OB-GYN.
Putnam tells McKeithan that after SHE Health closes, she “wants to educate people about abortion.”
She said she hopes access can be expanded in Bozeman by changing the policies of Bozeman Health and bringing in an established organization that provides abortions, like Planned Parenthood of Montana or Blue Mountain Clinic.
“I’m willing to say, ‘Yes, here’s my space, you can have it. Make this bigger, and I will come and help you in whatever capacity that I can,’” Putnam said.
Here’s hoping, and praying, that does not come to pass.