Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Montana organizers collect enough signatures to advance abortion rights ballot measure

By 37ci3 Jun22,2024

A proposed amendment to the Montana constitution to enshrine access to abortion is one step closer to appearing on the November 2024 ballot after organizers submitted the required number of valid signatures on Friday.

A committee called Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana announced it had collected nearly 117,000 signatures from registered voters — more than the roughly 60,300 signatures needed to move forward with their ballot proposal. The group faced a Friday deadline.

The group also said it met the requirement under state law that at least 10% of registered voters in 40 of Montana’s 100 state House districts sign — a particularly difficult hurdle for abortion rights groups. red state.

At a virtual press conference, ACLU of Montana Executive Director Akilah Deernose said the group has collected more signatures than any ballot initiative in Montana’s history, including signatures from every Montana county.

event, It is called CI-128It would amend the Montana constitution to expressly guarantee the right to “make and carry out decisions about one’s own pregnancy, including the right to have an abortion.”

It would also “prohibit the government from denying or burdening the right to an abortion until approximately 24 weeks of gestation until fetal viability” and “prohibiting the government from denying or burdening access to an abortion when the treating health care provider determines that it is medically indicated.” “to protect the life or health of a pregnant patient”.

State and county-level officials now have until July 19 to verify the signatures. When they complete that process, the petitions are sent to the secretary of state to approve the measure for the November ballot. The Secretary of State has until August 22 to approve the measure for the ballot.

Abortion is currently legal in Montana until viability. A ban on a common abortion procedure called dilation and evacuation after 15 weeks of pregnancy, signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte last year, is being blocked by the courts.

Enshrining abortion rights in the state constitution would make it harder for lawmakers to overturn existing protections in the future.

Montana is one of 11 states where organizers are trying to enshrine abortion rights in state constitutions through citizen-led ballot initiatives. The measures are officially on the ballot in Colorado, Maryland, Florida, South Dakota and New York. A judge in New York prevented the proposed amendment from being posted On the November ballot last month, however, the move was challenged and a judge on Thursday decided to return the eventk in the November newsletter.

Montana abortion rights groups faced a number of legal and logistical challenges to begin gathering signatures. In January, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, a Republican whose review and approval is required for the process to proceed, rejected the proposed language, prompting organizers to file a lawsuit challenging the decision.

The case reached the state Supreme Court, which decided to overturn Knudsen’s decision in March, allowing the process to move forward.

However, additional legal issues may still arise. Republican state legislators have held repeated token voting opposes the measure, criticizes it for being too broad.

An abortion rights ballot measure could help boost Democratic turnout in the state’s high-profile Senate race.

While Montana is a solidly red state in presidential races, Democratic Sen. John Tester’s re-election race against Republican Tim Sheehy is expected to be one of the most competitive in the nation this year.

National anti-abortion groups have poured resources into statewide efforts in recent months to defeat the proposed ballot measure. In April, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America said it would be sent dozen canvasmen to Montana.

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By 37ci3

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