Montana joins states banning abortion after 20 weeks of gestation

Montana joins states banning abortion after 20 weeks of gestation

Montana will join a number of states that ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation, as Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, is set to sign three abortion-related bills into law, including HB 136, the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Gianforte is also set to sign HB 140, which requires that a pregnant woman be given the opportunity to view an active ultrasound and listen to the fetal heart tone before going through with an abortion; and HB 171, which creates additional requirements for providing abortion-inducing drugs to pregnant women.

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HB 171 would also prohibit doctors from virtually prescribing medication abortions, according to Montana Public Radio.

Gianforte voiced his support for HB 136 during his State of the State Address in January.

“We must protect the lives of our most vulnerable: unborn children. I firmly believe all life is precious and must be protected,” he said. “I urge the legislature to send me the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which protects unborn babies by prohibiting abortion when they can feel pain.

“I also urge the legislature to send me the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which requires doctors to perform life-saving care on a baby who’s born as a result of a botched abortion.”

Greg Gianforte in October 2018 in Pray, Montana. (Photo by William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images)

Greg Gianforte in October 2018 in Pray, Montana. (Photo by William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images)

Other states that ban abortion after 20 weeks of gestation (or earlier) include Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Montana state Sen. Diane Sands, a Democrat, spoke out against the bills earlier in the year.

“It’s not about providing women more information to make a better decision,” she said, the Missoula Current reported. “It’s about intimidating women to see if you can force them to change their decision.”

The signing of HB 171 comes after the Food and Drug Administration lifted restrictions on telemedicine abortions, reigniting debate over the controversial drug mifepristone.

In a letter earlier in April, the FDA told the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that it would exercise discretion in enforcing its requirement that women obtain the pills in person. The issue sparked much debate under the Trump administration, whose rule effectively limited options for women seeking abortions during the pandemic.

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Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, told ACOG existing literature didn’t appear to show increases in serious safety concerns (ectopic pregnancy, hemorrhage and surgical interventions) as a result of modifying the in-person requirement during COVID-19.

Fox News’ Sam Dorman contributed to this report.