Senate Bill 329, the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, was heard before the Montana House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning.

Sponsor Keith Regier (R) Senate District 3, said the bill would ban abortions in Montana after 20 weeks of gestation.

"The need for this bill is brought by the scientific evidence that abortion is painful for the unborn," Regier said. "We've all heard stories about babies that were delivered between 20 and 30 weeks of development, and they survived because they have all of the developed body parts needed. By 20 weeks, all the physical necessary to experience pain have developed. At 20 weeks, unborn babies react to painful stimuli, and their hormonal reactions are consistent with pain."

Regier quoted directly from the bill;

"The state asserts a separate and independent compelling interest in unborn human life that exists once the unborn child is capable of feeling pain. The legislature reaffirms the tradition of the State of Montana to protect every human life, whether unborn or aged, healthy or sick."

Regier said 15 other states have passed similar laws to protect the unborn.

photo from Montana Legislature
Kaitlin Borgmann

Opposing the bill was Kaitlin Borgmann, Executive Director of the Montana ACLU.

"The bottom line is that this ban is clearly unconstitutional," Borgmann began. "There is an unbroken stream of precedents from the United States Supreme Court, starting with Roe v Wade and continuing to the present. If there were any other doubt, similar bills passed in Idaho and Arizona were overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the same district which, as you know, encompasses Montana. In Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court in 1973 found that the right of privacy under the federal constitution protects a woman's right to choose abortion."

The bill passed the Senate on March 25, by a vote of 30 to 18.

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