Beauty industry

Montana bans abortions at 20 weeks

“Today we are taking action to protect the most vulnerable among us, the unborn children – we are celebrating life,” the Republican said when signing the bill on Monday, adding that he was ” proud to sign three bills that will protect the life of the unborn child. “

The first bill, the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would ban abortion at 20 weeks based on the scientifically contested notion that a fetus can experience pain at this stage of its development. According to an advocacy note published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an industry group with more than 60,000 members, fetuses may not be able to feel pain until at least 24 weeks gestation.

The measure also authorizes legal action against doctors who perform abortions in the past 20 weeks and provides exceptions for abortions “necessary to prevent a serious risk to the health of the mother of the unborn child”, but not for rape or incest. The 20-week ban may soon be the subject of legal challenges in light of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion nationwide before viability, which can occur at around 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Gianforte followed Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who signed a near-total abortion ban and two other abortion restrictions on Monday, sending a clear message that the state-level fight for access to the procedure is far from over. Republican-controlled states have introduced a flurry of anti-abortion bills this year, in line with the trend under the Trump presidency, while the Biden administration has sought to expand protections against abortion, including reversing abortion protections. restrictions of the Trump era.

Montana State Representative Lola Sheldon-Galloway, who sponsored the 20-week ban, said Monday she was confident that if the Supreme Court justices who ruled Roe had modern medical knowledge “and a science proven before them, they would have made a different decision.”

“I think it’s time for laws to catch up with 21st century science,” she added. “It is unethical to intentionally harm the innocence of an immature human being.”

Gianforte, who called on the state legislature to pass the 20-week ban during his state-of-the-state speech earlier this year, signed two more bills on Monday. One of them, HB 140, requires abortion providers to offer abortion seekers the ability to view their ultrasound images and hear the fetal heartbeat. There are exceptions for procedures deemed to be life-saving, ectopic pregnancies and when a pregnant woman’s health is endangered.
The other, HB 171, requires that drugs used in medical abortions, a type of abortion effective up to about 10 weeks gestation, “may only be administered by a qualified physician”, and must follow a set of procedures. procedures set out in the invoice. This follows the Food and Drug Administration’s decision earlier this month to remove a requirement during the Covid-19 pandemic that any of the drugs involved in medical abortion must be dispensed in person.

Martha Stahl, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Montana, said the bills would impact people living in rural areas, on low incomes and facing barriers to travel, calling the combined effect of the restriction of abortion in early and late pregnancy to “kind of squeeze both ends.”

“Looking at them together, I think the impact is kind of multiplied, isn’t it,” Stahl said. “Because if you make it difficult for people who want to have an abortion earlier in the pregnancy, and you make it difficult for that same group of people who may not be able to travel, you know, who have other family obligations. , etc. , these are the people who are really affected by this legislation together. “

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