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Montana attorney general joins suit over federal funding for abortion referrals


Montana’s attorney general is supporting an Ohio lawsuit aiming to stop federal resources from going to clinics that refer patients elsewhere for abortion services.

Attorney General Austin Knudsen filed a brief in support of a challenge brought by Ohio’s attorney general against the Biden administration.

The suit alleges the administration is violating federal law by allowing federal dollars to go to family planning clinics that refer patients to providers that offer abortion services. The Trump administration had prohibited federal dollars from going to those clinics. Biden recently reversed the rule.

Knudsen said in a statement that giving federal funds to clinics that refer patients to abortion providers is tantamount to the federal government funding elective abortions.

Knudsen said this is also a weight on people in rural Montana who don’t want to visit providers that are connected in any way to abortion services.

Although state funds do not go toward elective abortion services in Montana, legal precedent requires the state to financially cover medically necessary abortions for patients enrolled in Medicaid.

Montana lawmakers are studying that legal precedent ahead of the next legislative session.
Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.