“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 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.
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.”
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. “