Planned Parenthood of Montana has filed a lawsuit against the state over four newly enacted laws that protect preborn babies. The laws, unless they are blocked by a judge, are set to take effect on October 1.
The bills are part of the spate of new pro-life laws which have been passed in numerous states in 2021. As The Daily Citizen previously reported, as of July 7, 19 different states had enacted 94 pro-life laws since the start of the year. This is a new record, already surpassing the previous record of 89 pro-life laws passed in 2011.
The new laws come as many state legislators are hoping the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in its upcoming term, granting states far greater latitude to protect preborn babies.
The state of Montana contributed four new pro-life laws to this year’s total, all of which are now being challenged in court.
HB 136, or the “Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” was passed by the Montana House in a 66-34 vote. The Senate approved the bill 31-19. It was then signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte on April 26. The bill outlawed aborting preborn children who are capable of feeling pain, which generally occurs at 20 weeks’ gestation.
HB 140 required that “a pregnant woman must be afforded the opportunity to view an active ultrasound and ultrasound images and listen to the fetal heart tone of the unborn child before undergoing an abortion.” The bill passed the House 68-32, and the Senate 30-20 before being signed by Gov. Gianforte on April 26.
HB 171 was also signed into law on April 26 and regulates the use of abortion-inducing drugs. It prohibits the distribution of these drugs via mail, forbids providing them at elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools, and mandates that a pregnant woman must provide informed consent to receive the drugs.
HB 229, enacted on April 30, stipulates that “a qualified health plan … may not be offered or otherwise made available through a health insurance exchange … if the plan provides coverage for abortion.”
Planned Parenthood of Montana, which has five clinics across the state, tweeted in announcing their lawsuit, “While the laws create various restrictions, they all share the same ultimate goal: outlawing safe, legal, constitutionally-protected abortion entirely, and create unnecessary barriers to health care.”
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who was named as a defendant in the suit, said in a statement that Montana had rejected Planned Parenthood’s “extreme pro-abortion positions.”
“I look forward to defending these clearly valid statutes and to protecting the lives of the unborn,” he added.
With the Supreme Court potentially reconsidering Roe v. Wade, and nearly 100 new pro-life laws enacted so far this year, we may be nearing a turning point in the fight to protect preborn babies.
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