Montana voters rejected a ballot initiative during the midterm elections 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.
Montanans voted against LR-131, a referendum for the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, 53 percent to 47 percent, according to an estimation from the New York Times. The law would have established that a “born alive infant is entitled to medically appropriate care and treatment” and would have ruled that any healthcare provider found guilty of failing to take the necessary steps to “preserve a born-alive infant’s life” would face a punishment of a fine up to $50,000 or imprisonment up to 20 years, or both.
Nearly a quarter of a million people have voted to NOT require medical care for infants born alive. pic.twitter.com/ooHvMpU1SB
— Seth Dillon (@SethDillon) November 10, 2022
As Live Action News reported, “opponents of the referendum launched a strong campaign, parading tragic stories of families with high-risk infants who suffered extreme health complications and died shortly following birth.” Pro-abortion groups like Center for Reproductive Rights claimed the ballot initiative was designed to “stigmatize abortion,” and Planned Parenthood claimed the “dangerous” measure would have “criminalized medical professionals for providing compassionate care to families facing tragic pregnancy complications, including newborns with fatal diagnoses.”
#BREAKING: #Montana voters have rejected LR-131, an anti-abortion ballot initiative designed to stigmatize abortion. That means voters in ALL FIVE STATES with abortion-related ballot measures have voted in support of abortion rights! pic.twitter.com/s58s34M5mh
— Center for Reproductive Rights (@ReproRights) November 10, 2022
Montana voters — you did this!! 🎉You voted for reproductive freedom, rejecting a dangerous attempt to put politicians in charge of our personal medical decisions.
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) November 9, 2022
The bill’s sponsor rejected those claims in an interview with local media before the midterm elections.
“It’s a simple bill of are we going to protect infants that are born alive for any reason, not just a botched abortion, but any infant that’s born alive,” Regier said. “Do they deserve that same medical services that you and I are afforded, what’s medically appropriate and reasonable?”
Regier also said the argument that the referendum would require doctors to take a terminally ill infant away from its family is disingenuous and pointed to the language on the ballot which reads: “a healthcare provider shall take medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life and health of a born alive infant.”
“To me that just defies common sense, I mean, of what is medically appropriate and reasonable, and if you’re going to say trying to revive a terminally ill baby— that’s not medically reasonable,” he said. “That seems pretty straightforward.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, told Fox News Digital that the measure failed in part because “pro-abortion forces vastly outspent pro-life forces to drive dishonest messages to confused voters.”
In Montana, pro-abortion forces ran TV ads characterizing the initiative as an “an extreme, harmful government intrusion into medical care,” when all the initiative would do is provide the same level of care to an infant who survived an abortion as you would to an infant born early in pregnancy. If Montana voters knew the truth about what the initiative would actually do, it would have passed overwhelmingly. Our side must do a better job raising the resources needed to go toe-to-toe with the heavily funded abortion industry to arm voters with the truth.
Montana law does reportedly protect against infanticide: Part 1 of the Montana Abortion Control Act states in part that “a person commits an offense, as defined in 45-5-102 (deliberate homicide) through 45-5-104 (negligent homicide), if the person purposely, knowingly, or negligently causes the death of a premature infant born alive, if the infant is viable” and that “whenever a premature infant that is the subject of abortion is born alive and is viable, it becomes a dependent and neglected child subject to the provisions of state law.”
A 2022 federal law also established infants born alive as legal persons but did not mandate care or penalties.