Montana Gov. signs bill outlawing the dismemberment of living unborn children

By Dave Andrusko

Mere hours after pro-life Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte announced that he had signed House Bill 721, Planned Parenthood ran to a state judge to ask them to temporarily block the bill which would stop the dismemberment of living unborn babies. Speaker Matt Regier was the sponsor.

HB 721 “is the latest salvo in the Legislature’s ongoing assault on Montanans’ right to seek safe and lawful pre-viability abortions — a right guaranteed by the Montana Constitution,” the complaint from Planned Parenthood states.

“Dismemberment abortion for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the mother, and demeaning to the medical profession,” Gov. Gianforte countered during a pro-life bill signing. House Bill 721 makes clear that it has no place in Montana.”

Last month, after the bill had been passed by the legislature but before Gianforte signed it, Planned Parenthood sought a preemptive ban. “District Court Judge Kathy Seeley said she could not restrain a law that was not yet in effect,” the Associated Press reported.

The AP’s Amy Beth Hanson went on to explain

The law being challenged also includes a provision that says: “The right of individual privacy as referenced in the Montana Constitution … does not create, and may not be construed as creating or recognizing, a right to abortion or to governmental funding of abortions,” as part of a Republican effort to require the Montana Supreme Court to reconsider the 1999 Armstrong ruling.

The Montana Supreme Court cited the Armstrong ruling last week in saying advanced practice registered nurses can continue to provide abortion care if they are properly trained.

On May 3rd, Gov. Gianforte signed five pro-life bills. Yesterday he signed into law a series of bills to protect the unborn and prevent taxpayer dollars from funding elective abortions.

“I’m proud to round out our legislative session with another suite of pro-life, pro-family bills that protect the lives of unborn babies in Montana,” Gov. Gianforte said.

A press release from the governor’s office added

House Bill 544, sponsored by Rep. Jane Gillette, R-Bozeman, establishes requirements for the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) to ensure abortions covered by Medicaid are medically necessary.

House Bill 862, sponsored by Rep. Mike Hopkins, R-Missoula, brings Montana in line with the federal Hyde Amendment to bar the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions except to save the life of a woman or in cases of incest or rape. …

Lastly, the governor signed House Bill 937, sponsored by Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, R-Great Falls, to provide for licensure and appropriate oversight of abortion clinics by DPHHS [Department of Public Health and Human Services].