Center for Reproductive Rights Calls on Montana Governor Steve Bullock to Veto Cruel and Unconstitutional Abortion Ban

(MEDIA ADVISORY) The Center for Reproductive Rights called on Montana Governor Steve Bullock today to veto SB 329, a clearly unconstitutional measure which would ban a woman from receiving safe and legal abortion care after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in narrow circumstances.

As the veto letter indicates, SB 329 is clearly unconstitutional, violating “long-established constitutional precedent prohibiting states from banning abortion prior to viability.”  This measure also violates the Montana Constitution, which “contains one of the strongest protections for privacy in the United States.”  Indeed, the Montana Supreme Court has found that the Montana Constitution “‘protects a woman’s right of procreative autonomy’—the right to obtain a lawful, pre-viability abortion from a health care provider of her choice.”

Governor Bullock has 10 days to veto the measure before it automatically becomes law.

“This bill will rob women of safe and legal options when they have made the decision to end a pregnancy,” said Amanda Allen, Senior State Legislative Counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. 

“A woman needs to be able to make important decisions about her pregnancy based on her individual circumstances—not based on the opinions of politicians.  We call upon Governor Bullock to continue standing up for women’s health and rights and veto this unconstitutional measure.” 

The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held that women have a constitutional right to decide whether to end or continue a pregnancy and states cannot ban abortion prior to viability.  When bans of this nature are challenged in court, they do not pass constitutional muster. The Supreme Court last year refused to review North Dakota’s ban on abortion as early as 6 weeks of pregnancy and Arkansas’ ban on abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy that had been struck down by lower courts; in 2014, the nation’s highest court refused to review Arizona’s ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy after it had been declared unconstitutional