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Two anti-abortion bills await the Montana governor's signature

 Reproductive rights advocates gathered in the Capitol in Helena, MT Friday, April 7, 2023 to protest anti-abortion legislation.
Shaylee Ragar
Montana Public Radio
Reproductive rights advocates gather in the state Capitol in Helena Friday, April 7, 2023, to protest anti-abortion legislation.

Reproductive rights advocates rallied in Helena as the first of nearly a dozen anti-abortion bills passed the Montana Legislature and made their way to the governor’s desk.

Supporters of access to abortion gathered in the Capitol Friday to protest policies they say violate the right for residents to make private health care decisions.

Dr. Caitlin Blau with Blue Mountain Clinic disputed Republican lawmakers’ characterization of abortion as dangerous and unethical.

“I’ve heard a lot of misinformation in the last two weeks so I want us all to be very clear on this point – abortions are good, they are moral, they are safe, liberating and empowering," Blau said.

Just a few hours later, the state Senate passed two bills aimed at abortion.

House Bill 721,carried by Republican Speaker of the House Matt Regier, would ban dilation and evacuation procedures — which is the most commonly used method to terminate pregnancy in the second trimester.

Republican Sen. Steve Hinebauch presented it on the floor.

“I will never yield in my belief that life begins at conception and deserves to be protected,” he said.

The Senate also passed House Bill 786, which would require the state to track negative health outcomes due to medication abortions.

The Kaiser Family Foundation says that medication abortions have long been safe and effective.

Both bills will soon land on Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk for consideration. In 2021, Gianforte signed into law several anti-abortion bills, which are now tied up in court.

Copyright 2023 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.