The Montana state Senate passed a bill that would require doctors who terminate a pregnancy after 24 weeks for medical emergencies to try to do so by inducing labor or cesarean section, and then to try to give life support to the baby.
Abortion is already banned in the state, but the current state law makes exceptions to save the mother’s life during late-term pregnancy. The bill would make that current law even more restrictive to effectively ban abortions all together by requiring the doctors to try keeping the baby alive.
Those who violate the measure would be charged with felony.
Most say the bill is unlikely to become law, as Montana Governor Steve Bullock has expressed support for abortion and will likely veto the measure. The Senate, which voted 32-18 in support of the bill on February 23, failed to gather two-thirds of the votes in favor of the bill to be able to override a possible veto.
Senator Albert Olszewski, who is the bill’s primary sponsor, said the bill was “inspired by a real situation, a situation where a late-term pregnancy put a woman in a life-threatening condition and had to deal with this horrible decision of being told she had to terminate this pregnancy.”
The bill offers “two methods of terminating a pregnancy,” Olszewski said, and “both would produce a live birth and it’s safe for the mother.”
Critics of the bill, such as Senator Diane Sands, say it’s too extreme.
“They either have to be a miracle worker or a felon,” Sands was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying. “It’s by far the most extreme measure I’ve seen ever proposed in Montana.”
Planned Parenthood Montana has stated that it would challenge the bill in court if it becomes law.