Montana taxpayers will not be forced to pay for killing unborn babies in abortions because of a new state law.
On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the ban on taxpayer funding for abortions and several other pro-life laws as part of his pro-family, pro-life agenda, Montana Public Radio reports.
“Montanans sent us to Helena to boldly defend life, not send their tax dollars to abortion clinics,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “I’m proud to round out our legislative session with another suite of pro-life, pro-family bills that protect the lives of unborn babies in Montana.”
Sponsored by state Rep. Mike Hopkins, R-Missoula, House Bill 862 prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars to fund elective abortions through the state Medicaid program. Exceptions are allowed for cases of rape, incest or situations where the mother’s life is at risk.
A second bill, House Bill 544, sponsored by state Rep. Jane Gillette, R-Bozeman, establishes requirements for the state health department to ensure that the limited abortions covered by taxpayers through Medicaid are medically necessary.
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Gianforte also signed legislation sponsored by state Rep. Courtenay Sprunger, R-Kalispell, to create an adoption tax credit of up to $7,500 to encourage families to adopt Montana children.
“It’s not enough just to stand for life. We must also do all we can to make Montana families stronger and help them prosper,” the governor said in a statement. “Through adoption, parents provide children with the gift of family, and with an adoption tax credit, we’re making it easier for Montanans to open their happy, healthy, loving homes to children.”
Additionally, he signed bills to ban brutal dismemberment abortions on second-trimester unborn babies and to require abortion facilities to follow additional health and safety regulations.
The abortion chain Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit challenging the dismemberment abortion ban in April, but a judge dismissed its case as premature because the ban was not a law at the time.
Last week, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen filed a motion seeking sanctions against Planned Parenthood for “knowingly and intentionally violating” state laws and “disrespecting the judiciary” by suing to block a non-existent law.
“The sanctions will serve as punishment for the plaintiffs’ wasteful and abusive litigation tactics and deter the future use of such tactics by other special interest groups seeking to commandeer the Montana courts for unconstitutional aims,” his office said in a statement last week.
Republicans control the Montana Legislature. This spring, they also passed legislation to ban late-term abortions, make clear that the state constitution does not include a right to abort unborn babies, protect babies who survive abortions from infanticide and protect the conscience rights of pro-life medical professionals, according to the Independent Record.
Montana voters elected a strong majority of pro-life lawmakers to office, but courts repeatedly have thwarted their efforts to protect unborn babies’ lives. Most decisions are based on a 1999 Montana Supreme Court ruling that improperly found a “right” to abort unborn babies in the state constitution based on the right to privacy.
In 2020, there were 1,675 abortions reported in Montana, according to the state health department.