Montana Gov. Steve Bullock Will Veto Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions on Babies After 20 Weeks

A spokeswoman for Montana Gov. Steve Bullock told a pro-abortion blog Thursday that he plans to veto a bill to protect late-term unborn babies from abortions.

The bill, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. Montana House lawmakers approved the bill earlier this month, and the state Senate passed it in March.

Marissa Perry, press secretary for the governor, told Rewire that Bullock has not seen the bill yet, but he “strongly believes a woman’s medical decision should stay between herself, her doctor, her family, and her faith.” She also pointed to Bullock’s record of vetoing pro-life bills.

When the House passed the bill earlier this month, one pro-life lawmaker shared his personal story on the House floor.

The UM News Service reported:

Rep. Dennis Lenz, R-Billings, supported the bill and said he takes great offense when someone says men don’t understand abortion.

“As someone who was born to an unwed mother – 11 years before Roe v. Wade – I know where I would be,” Lenz said.

Lenz said this piece of legislation is important to protect the lives of babies. Rep. Carl Glimm, R-Kila, said this is exactly why government is in place.

“I think that government is here to take care of those who are the most vulnerable, and I think that these babies are just that,” Glimm said.

Glimm said that he could contend that 50 percent of those babies would be women, and so, by nature, the legislation cares about women.

Pro-abortion lawmakers and abortion advocacy groups have criticized the bill as government overreach into women’s lives and doctor’s offices.

Currently, 16 states prohibit abortions after 20 weeks based on strong scientific evidence that unborn babies at this stage can feel pain.

Iowa passed a similar bill last week, and Gov. Terry Branstad is expected to sign it. Other states also are considering bills to protect pain-capable unborn children this spring.

Together, these laws potentially are saving thousands of babies from painful, late-term abortions. There were more than 5,770 late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another approximate 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks, the CDC reports.

Though abortion advocates deny the science of fetal pain, researchers have fully established fetal pain at 20 weeks or earlier.

Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into it. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.

At 20 weeks, the unborn child has all the parts in place – the pain receptors, spinal cord, nerve tracts, and thalamus – needed for transmitting and feeling pain. The unborn child responds to touch as early as week 6; and by week 18, pain receptors have appeared throughout the child’s body.

Dr. Colleen A. Malloy, a professor of neonatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, told a U.S. Senate committee last year that “anesthesiologists, and surgeons use pain medication” for unborn babies at the 20 week stage, “because it’s supported by the literature completely.”

“I could never imagine subjecting my tiny patients to a horrific procedure such as those that involve limb detachment or cardiac injection,” Malloy said.

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