Reproductive Rights and the 2021 Legislative Session
Montana’s reproductive rights took a blow in the 67th Legislative Session, with many legislative attacks on abortion that were proposed and passed. Not only are these new laws unnecessarily legislating our healthcare system, which has many protocols already in place to protect patients, but these laws are an attack on our constitutional right to safe and legal abortion. These new laws are potentially harmful and will negatively impact Montanans in the long run.
Below are the anti-abortion bills that MWV tracked. We opposed all of them.
- HB 136, sponsored by Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway (Passed and signed into law) – Establish pain-capable unborn child protection act: This bill will stop access to safe and legal abortion after 20 weeks and criminalize doctors, even in cases involving fatal fetal anomalies and potential harm to the patient. This bill does not include any considerations for cases involving incest or rape, nor does it account for the patient’s overall well-being. HB 136 will take effect on October 1, 2021.
- HB 140, sponsored by Rep. Amy Regier (Passed and signed into law) – Requiring the provision of information before the performance of an abortion: This bill requires that an ultrasound be performed before every abortion, invading personal and private medical decisions and making no exception for rape. HB 140 will take effect on October 1, 2021.
- HB 167, sponsored by Rep. Matt Regier (Passed by the Legislature) – Referendum to adopt the Montana Born-Alive Infant Protection Act: This bill completely mischaracterizes safe, legal healthcare and criminalizes medical professionals who are caring for their patients. It grossly politicizes Montanans’ constitutional right to access abortion. HB 167 will be on the ballot in the November 2022 election.
- HB 171, sponsored by Rep. Sharon Greef (Passed and signed into law) – Adopt the Montana Abortion-Inducing Drug Risk Protocol Act: This bill requires abortion-inducing medication to be distributed in person, banning medication-induced abortion in a telemedicine setting. This puts medically unnecessary barriers between patients and the medical care they deserve. It will be particularly harmful in rural areas by prohibiting patients from accessing medication through the mail, delaying their access to health care. HB 171 will take effect on October 1, 2021.
- HB 229, sponsored by Rep. Jane Gillette (Passed and signed into law) – Generally revise insurance laws: This bill makes it virtually impossible for Montanans to obtain insurance coverage for abortion, even if they paid for their insurance with their own funds. HB 229 will take effect on October 1, 2021.
- HB 337, sponsored by Rep. Caleb Hinkle (Died in process) – Constitutional amendment to define ‘person’: This bill would have banned all abortion in Montana, and had the potential to put a ban on some common forms of birth control like the pill. Not only would it have given constitutional rights to a fertilized egg, zygote, or fetus, separate from the pregnant person, but it could have had dangerous legal implications for in vitro fertilization. HB 337 required a 2/3 vote of the entire legislature and failed to reach that threshold.
- SB 99, sponsored by Sen. Cary Smith (Passed and signed into law) – Establish parameters for K-12 human sexuality education: A direct attack on Planned Parenthood, this bill prohibits all health care providers who offer abortion services from providing quality sex education in Montana schools. Planned Parenthood educational staff reaches 1.5 million individuals a year in the United States and 64% of those individuals are middle school and high school youth. SB 99 will take effect on July 1, 2021.