Montana State Senate Approves Personhood Legislation That Could Ban Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 27, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Montana State Senate Approves Personhood Legislation That Could Ban Abortions

by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 27
, 2009

Helena, MT ( — The Montana state Senate on Thursday approved a personhood bill that would declare an unborn child a person under state law and it would likely result in abortions becoming illegal. The measure could also limit any research conducted on babies during their embryonic stage of development.

Sen. Dan McGee is the sponsor of the bill, SB 406, that received a 26-24 vote.

Keith Mason, of the group Personhood USA, applauded the vote and McGee’s efforts.

"Senator Dan McGee, writing the language of SB 406 himself, has shown what it truly means to be pro-life," he told "Senator McGee’s successful efforts on behalf of all human beings at all stages of human life are a giant step forward in historic efforts to ensure the rights and protection of every individual."

The bill defines a person for the purposes of application of inalienable rights as including an unborn child throughout the entirety of pregnancy.

It states, "All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights…person means a human being at all stages of human development of life, including the state of fertilization or conception, regardless of age, health, level of functioning, or condition of dependency."

The bill is a state ballot amendment that would appear before voters in the next general election if it receives 100 votes in the state legislature.

That’s a daunting task as the bill now needs 74 votes from members of the Montana House in a chamber that would find it hard to approve the bill on a simple majority.

The Montana Senate has also approved another bill McGee sponsored that would limit the misuse of the privacy clause in the state constitution to allow for unlimited abortions. Montana is one of a handful of states where the state Supreme Court has misconstrued the Constitution to support abortion.

The Senate voted for Senate Bill 46 on a 29-19 vote and it also needs 100 to clear the legislature.

Looking at this bill, the Montana Constitution, which originated in the early 1970s, contains a privacy clause that the drafters meant to apply to government surveillance like wiretapping.

Instead, in a 1999 decision, allowing non-physicians to do abortions, the Montana Supreme Court allowed a virtually unlimited right to abortion by claiming the clause made it so.

McGee, from Laurel, hopes to change the state constitution to make it clear the privacy clause does not apply to abortion.

"The people of Montana must decide this question — not the Supreme Court," McGee told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The protection of unborn human life is indeed a compelling state interest."

The amendment would have the Constitution say the "protection of unborn human life is a compelling state interest," that would not ban abortions or make new laws but mitigate the state high court’s decision and its effect on laws the legislature passes.

"There are people on both sides of the aisle that favor this. I don’t know how many," McGee said, according to an AP report. "I’m remaining optimistic, perhaps foolishly so."

Related web sites:
Montana Senate –
Right to Life of Montana –

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