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Montana Lawmakers Reject Proposed Ballot Measure Banning Abortion

A group of Republican lawmakers and protestors gather on the steps of the Montana Capitol for an anti-abortion rally on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.
Austin Amestoy
/
UM Legislative News Service
A group of Republican lawmakers and protestors gather on the steps of the Montana Capitol for an anti-abortion rally on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

Montana Lawmakers Reject Proposed Ballot Measure Banning Abortion

Montana lawmakers have voted down a bill that would have asked voters to change the state Constitution and ban abortion in the state. The proposal came in five votes shy of the two-thirds majority it needed — 100 out of Montana’s 150 lawmakers — to advance.

House Bill 339 would use a ballot measure to ask voters to consider changing the definition of a person in the Montana Constitution. The change would give full legal protections to fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos and fetuses. Effectively, it would ban all abortions. 

All Republicans in the House and Senate cast votes supporting the bill while all Democrats voted against it. 

Other bills restricting access to abortion have already cleared the Republican-majority Legislature — but have not yet been signed into law. One would ban abortions at 20 weeks' gestation, another would restrict access to medication abortions and a third would require doctors to offer the opportunity to view an ultrasound before an abortion is performed. 

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte has said he supports a 20-week abortion ban and is generally opposed to abortion care. 

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.