This legislative session has been as unique as I can remember — from overcoming the challenges of the pandemic on a daily basis to holding the most accessible session in Montana history — there's no doubt that this session has been different from others.
But the most notable difference has been the opportunity to serve under unified Republican leadership. With Republican control of the House, Senate, and Governor's Office, we finally had the chance to deliver conservative priorities after 16 long years on a wide variety of issues — and we've delivered. One of the areas that we've excelled in is protecting the unborn.
Our caucus has passed numerous bills that defend the sanctity of life and protect the most vulnerable among us, unborn children, and with Montana's first pro-life governor in 16 years, these efforts have not gone to waste like in previous sessions.
In January, Governor Greg Gianforte, in his State of the State Address, pledged to sign the Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act marking two major pro-life milestones for our state. This set the pace for the 67th Legislature in fulfilling the critical mission of always defending the unborn and proudly standing up for life.
The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act is already law. And within the coming days, the governor is ready to sign three more of our priority pro-life bills into law.
House Bill 136, referenced above, is the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill prohibits abortion after 20-weeks unless the procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother. At 20-weeks, a child's nervous system is near full development, and many doctors believe the unborn child can feel pain. Some children born at 22 and 23 weeks have survived infancy. If a child can feel pain, they must be protected, and that's what this bill accomplishes.
House Bill 140 requires anyone performing an abortion to allow the mother to review an ultrasound and listen to the fetal heartbeat. This legislation offers expectant mothers the choice to view an ultrasound of the child in utero. The ultrasound is optional, but the medical professional must make the offer.
House Bill 171 will put an FDA-approved regulation preventing abortifacients from being delivered to women via the mail or prescribed via telehealth appointment into law. The bill also requires patients to be provided with information about the potential adverse effects and complications of chemical abortions to help patients be fully informed before making such a momentous decision.
Together, our caucus' pro-life package bills will save lives and ensure expecting mothers can make fully informed decisions during critical moments in their lives. Thankfully, now we have a governor who shares our mission of passionately protecting the unborn and is ready to make the bills we passed law. I was proud to support each of these bills, and for as long as I serve Montanans in the legislature, I will always proudly stand for life.