Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law five bills aimed at restricting abortion access in Montana on Wednesday, triggering a legal request from Planned Parenthood of Montana later in the day to block one of the bills.
“Today we’re protecting the lives of the most vulnerable amongst us — unborn children,” Gianforte, a Republican, told a crowd of activists and lawmakers gathered outside the Capitol during a bill-signing ceremony the morning after the 68th Legislature adjourned.
The bills include Senate Bill 154, which attempts to override the Montana Supreme Court’s longstanding recognition of abortion rights in the state. Known as the “Armstrong decision,” it holds that the state Constitution’s right to privacy protects access to abortions in Montana up to the point of viability….
The governor also signed into law a bill that grants health care professionals the right to object to providing care they morally disagree with. 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….
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. 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.
Planned Parenthood of Montana filed documents with Lewis and Clark County District Court late Wednesday seeking to block HB 575, saying it would result in irreparable harm. It is an addition to an earlier lawsuit filed by the organization against a bill the Legislature passed that would ban the most commonly used abortion procedure in the second trimester. A Helena judge previously declared the filing “premature” because the bill has not been signed, and the organization said it would renew the filing when the bill becomes law.
And Gianforte put his signature on House Bill 625, which requires that an infant born alive following an attempted abortion in an abortion clinic, medical facility, or other facility is entitled to the same protections under the law that would arise for any newborn infant or for any person who comes to a medical facility or other facility for screening or treatment.
As was the case for other bills tied to national social issues this session, the anti-abortion bills largely passed the Legislature on party lines. Republicans hold historic two-thirds majorities in both chambers….
The governor also cited several other abortion-related bills that passed the Legislature and said he plans to sign them when they reach his desk. They include:
House Bill 544, to require preauthorizations for abortions covered by Medicaid and tighten what would qualify as a medically necessary procedure.
House Bill 862, to prohibit public funding to be used for abortions except in some limited cases.
House Bill 721, to ban the most commonly used abortion procedure in the second trimester, known as dilation and curettage.
Original story on missoulian.com.