By Dave Andrusko
Montana’s Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a suite of pro-life bills Wednesday that defend life and promised to sign five additional bills when they reach
“Today, we are protecting the lives of the most vulnerable among us, unborn babies,” Gov. Gianforte said at a bill signing ceremony the morning after the 68th Legislature adjourned. “This package of pro-family, pro-child, pro-life bills will make a lasting difference in Montana.” The governor added, “We couldn’t have done it alone, and I just want to thank the thousands of Montanans throughout the state who made their voices heard and made today possible. ”
The Infant Care and Safety Act (HB 625) protects life by providing legal protections to and ensuring appropriate medical care for children who survive abortions. “Every human life is valuable, and every baby deserves to be protected,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Denise Burke.
“By enacting this critical legislation, Montana has affirmed the basic human rights of vulnerable children, whether born or unborn. The Infant Care and Safety Act provides legal protection for babies who survive abortions, ending the inhumane practice where these children can be left to die without even minimal effort being made to save them. The bill is an important step in advancing human rights and protecting vulnerable babies in Montana,” Burke said.
House Bill 575 and House Bill 786, “both sponsored by Republican Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway of Great Falls, were also signed by the governor during Wednesday’s ceremony,” Sam Wilson reported. “The first would prohibit the abortion of viable fetuses, a point the bill sets at 24 weeks’ gestation, and the second requires reporting of adverse effects following medication abortions.”
Another bill signed by the governor, House Bill 303, “gives doctors, nurses and other providers the ability to refuse to perform abortions or prescribe marijuana or opioids, according to bill sponsor Rep. Amy Regier, R-Kalispell. “Freedom to live and work consistent with one’s conscience is critical,” Regier said during the ceremony. “It is at the heart of what motivates many who enter the medical field, a profession full of individuals who dedicate their lives to healing,” Wilson reported.
“For too long, the First Amendment rights of these providers have been ignored and left unprotected,” the governor said. “HB 303 changes that. It establishes the right of medical conscience, protecting nurses and physicians who cannot conscientiously perform a specific procedure.”
According to Gov. Gianforte’s office, in addition to “protecting babies born alive following a botched abortion,” the package also “restricts dismemberment abortion of babies, and prohibit the abortion of viable babies, unless necessary to protect the life of the mother.”
Finally, the package “strengthens Montana law to better ensure taxpayer dollars are not used to fund elective abortions.”
“Montanans sent us to Helena to boldly defend life, not send their tax dollars to abortion clinics,” the governor said, praising sponsors Rep. Jane Gillette, R-Bozeman, and Rep. Mike Hopkins, R-Missoula, who carried HB 544 and HB 862, respectively. “Montanans hard-earned money should not be used by the government to fund elective abortions.”