Montana ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’ (SB 329)
This law was last updated on Jul 6, 2017
SB 329 would prohibit a person from performing, inducing, or attempting an abortion of a fetus that has a probable post-fertilization age of 20 or more weeks, unless it is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant patient.
The bill includes junk science that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks post-fertilization.
The bill would require physicians to first determine the probable post-fertilization age of a fetus prior to performing an abortion, except in the case of a medical emergency.
In making this determination, the practitioner would need to make inquiries of the patient and perform “medical examinations and tests that a reasonably prudent practitioner who is knowledgeable about the case and the medical conditions involved would consider necessary to perform in making an accurate diagnosis with respect to post-fertilization age.”
If an abortion is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant individual, the physician would be required to terminate the pregnancy in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive unless, termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk either of the death of the pregnant individual or of the substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions, of the individual than would other available methods.
A person who purposely or knowingly performs, induces, or attempts an abortion in violation of this provision would be guilty of a felony, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for a term not to exceed 5 years, or both.
The bill would allow the individual upon whom an abortion has been performed or induced in violation of this provision, or the father of the fetus who was the subject of the abortion to maintain an action against the person who performed or induced the abortion in a purposeful or knowing violation for actual and punitive damages.
The bill provides a cause of action for injunctive relief against a person who has purposely or knowingly violated this provision may be maintained by:
- the individual upon whom an abortion was performed, induced, or attempted or, if a minor, the individual’s parent or guardian;
- a person who is the spouse of the individual upon whom an abortion has been performed, induced, or attempted;
- a prosecuting attorney with appropriate jurisdiction; or
- the attorney general.
The injunction would prevent the physician from performing, inducing, or attempting additional abortions in violation of this provision.
Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.
Similar to HB 479, which failed to pass in 2015.
Passed the senate on March 25, 2017, by a 30-18 vote.
Passed the house on April 13, 2017, by a 61-39 vote.
Final passage in the senate on April 19, 2017, by a 32-18 vote.
Vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock (D) on May 4, 2017.