Abortion activists in Montana are working to put abortion on the ballot in 2024, adding to a growing list of states that may be voting on the issue next year.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana filed its ballot measure proposal with the secretary of state on Nov. 22. The measure would codify into the state constitution the supposed “right” to abortion up to fetal viability, which is generally considered to be around 22-24 weeks of pregnancy. The measure would also bar the government from limiting abortions when it is necessary to “protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
Abortion is currently legal up to fetal viability in Montana, which is the stage of pregnancy when a baby has developed enough that it is able to survive outside the womb with medical intervention. Chris Coburn, a spokesperson for the abortion giant affiliate, said the amendment would cement abortion access in the state, which has long been bolstered by a 1999 Montana Supreme Court ruling. That decision established that the state’s right to privacy extends to the “right” to kill the unborn.
We’re excited to share that we’ve taken action to give Montanans the opportunity to vote to secure their reproductive rights. ✅
— Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana (@PPAdvocatesMT) November 22, 2023
“Just because abortion is currently protected under rulings made by the Montana Supreme Court, that does not mean abortion rights are secured,” Coburn told the Montana Free Press. “Any change in the composition of the Montana Supreme Court or any bad rulings could change that instantaneously. So we’re explaining to voters that this amendment will protect their right to abortion in the Montana Constitution, ensuring that abortion access is placed beyond the reach of politicians.”
Coburn told the outlet that Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana decided to push for an abortion amendment after Montanans voted against an amendment in 2022 that would have mandated that infants who are born alive, including those who survive botched abortions, are legal persons entitled to life-saving medical care.
“We just know that many Montanans feel politicians have gone too far in trying to make medical decisions for Montanans, decisions that belong to no one but patients and their doctors,” Coburn said. “As we move forward through this campaign, we will continue to have deep conversations, continue to do more polling, so that by the time we’re ready to start gathering signatures, we have a deeper understanding of how Montanans feel on the issue. And ultimately it will be up to Montanans when they vote.”
The measure’s language must first be approved by the Montana Legislative Services Division and pass a legal review by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen. If the language passes muster, the group may begin to collect signatures. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana needs signatures from 10 percent from the state’s electorate, including 10 percent in each legislative House district, to qualify for the 2024 ballot. If the measure makes it on the ballot, it needs a simple majority vote to pass.
Activists in at least nine other states are working to put abortion amendments on the ballot next year, after a string of state-level pro-abortion victories following the fall of Roe v. Wade — a 1973 Supreme Court decision which had, for 50 years, invented a “right” to abortion.
Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on X @thekat_hamilton.