Just as he said he would, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed a bill on Monday that would protect late-term unborn babies from abortion.
The bill, Senate Bill 282, would require doctors to deliver a “viable fetus” under most circumstances. It defines “viable fetus” as a fetus that has at least a 50 percent chance of survival.
The AP reports Bullock, a Democrat, issued a statement Monday when he vetoed the bill, claiming that aborting an unborn baby is a “deeply personal medical decision” that should be left up to women, not legislators.
Marissa Perry, press secretary for the governor, previously told Rewire that Bullock “strongly believes a woman’s medical decision should stay between herself, her doctor, her family, and her faith.” She also pointed to Bullock’s record of vetoing pro-life bills.
It is unclear if the state legislature has enough votes to override the veto.
Currently, 17 states have \laws in place to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks based on strong scientific evidence that unborn babies at this stage can feel pain. Last week, Iowa became the 17th state to enact this life-saving legislation.
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Together, these laws potentially are saving thousands of babies from painful, late-term abortions. There were more than 5,770 late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another approximate 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks, the CDC reports.
Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.
At 20 weeks, the unborn child has all the parts in place – the pain receptors, spinal cord, nerve tracts, and thalamus – needed for transmitting and feeling pain. The unborn child responds to touch as early as week 6; and by week 18, pain receptors have appeared throughout the child’s body.
Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, a professor of neonatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told a U.S. Senate committee last year that “anesthesiologists, and surgeons use pain medication” for unborn babies at the 20 week stage, “because it’s supported by the literature completely.”
“I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to a horrific procedure such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection,” Malloy said.