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Election 2022: Montana voters fail to protect babies who survive abortion

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Though the votes have not been fully tabulated, it appears at this time that Montana voters have failed to pass a referendum that would have ensured that all children born alive, including after a failed or botched abortion, receive proper medical treatment.

LR-131, a referendum for the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, reads as follows:

This Act legally protects born-alive infants by imposing criminal penalties on healthcare providers who do not act to preserve the life of such infants, including infants born during an attempted abortion. A born alive infant is entitled to medically appropriate care and treatment. A healthcare provider shall take medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant…

A health care provider found guilty of failing to take medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve a born-alive infant’s life under this Act faces punishment of a fine up to $50,000 or imprisonment up to 20 years, or both.  

Since voters failed to approve the measure, there will now be no criminal penalties for a medical professional who neglects to provide lifesaving treatment to a child after he or she is born.

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The referendum follows HB-167, the Montana Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Matt Regier. The passage of that bill in 2021 put the current measure on the ballot.

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. “LR-131 will force physicians to attempt to place a breathing tube in a baby whose lungs have not yet developed or is so small that the tube cannot fit,” claimed Dr. Tim Mitchell in an interview with NPR.

“It’s about the difference between dying in the ICU and dying in the parent’s arms,” said Dr. Bonnie Stephens, a neonatologist.

But Regier disagreed with the opposition’s scaremongering.

“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,” Reiger previously said. “Do they deserve that same medical services that you and I are afforded, what’s medically appropriate and reasonable?”

“This is different from the abortion debate,” he further clarified in an editorial. “This law only affects medical providers intentionally, allowing children born alive to perish. The opposition suggests this would require doctors to try miraculous efforts to save terminal babies. No, LR 131 would not require that a hospice infant be taken from its family… Hospice care is appropriate, and it is disingenuous of the opposition to misconstrue and belittle the hospice line of healthcare.”

Though abortion activists also claimed that it is very rare for infants to survive abortion, it does happen. Live Action News has previously reported a number of instances, like this one, in which a child lived for 15 minutes following a botched abortion, and nothing was done to assist that child. In addition, undercover video footage shows an abortionist admitting that there is “no question” that some infants are born alive following abortion attempts.

In Montana, these allegedly “unwanted” children who survived the attempts on their lives will now receive no life-saving protections under the law.

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