Abortion-related bills before the Montana Legislature

Abortion-related bills before the Montana Legislature

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HELENA - Here is a summary and status of abortion-related bills before the 2011 Montana Legislature:

Criminalize death of unborn child: House Bill 167, sponsored by Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, has passed the House Judiciary Committee and is headed for the House floor. It would add "unborn child" as someone who could be the legal victim of murder.

Regier says he doesn't consider the measure an abortion bill, but that it would put into law that an unborn child is a person who can be the victim of a crime.

Parental notification: Senate Bill 97, sponsored by Sen. Jim Shockley, R-Victor, requires any physician performing an abortion on a minor to notify her parents at least 48 hours in advance. The bill has yet to be heard in committee.

Abortion/health insurance: Senate Bill 176, sponsored by Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, says any health insurance policy sold on a future Montana health insurance exchange, which would be eligible for federal subsidies, cannot cover abortion. It has yet to be heard in committee.

Ultrasound before an abortion: Rep. Pat Ingraham, R-Thompson Falls, plans to introduce a bill that would require a woman considering an abortion to be shown an ultrasound image of her fetus.

Constitutional amendments: Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Havre, plans to introduce two proposed constitutional amendments dealing with abortion. One would amend the state Constitution to say it does not prevent restriction of abortion or grant any right to abortion. The second one is known as the "personhood" amendment, which would, in the state Constitution, define "person" as beginning at conception.

Each amendment, once introduced, would require approval by at least 100 of the Legislature's 150 members before being placed on the 2012 ballot for a vote by the people.

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