MT reproductive rights groups comment on legislature 2023

lack of affordable housing. Rising food and childcare costs. Protection of our state constitution. There are a number of pressing issues facing Montanans that our representatives could (and should) address during the 68th Legislative Session, issues that we have elected them to address. Instead, let’s watch a replay of 2021 – when extremist lawmakers abused their positions of power and passed legislation to insert government into our most personal and private decisions.

There are currently more than 40 proposed laws related to reproductive rights, and the vast majority of these are focused on banning access to health care altogether or otherwise jeopardizing our right to safe, legal abortion. One draft, LC 771 by Rep. Lee Deming (R-Laurel), goes so far as to propose a total ban on abortion with no real exceptions, even for survivors of rape or incest. And what we do know, both from the 2021 legislation here in Montana and from proposed policies in other states, is that attacks like this don’t stop at criminalizing abortion, but also at contraception, in vitro fertilization and gender-affirming care aim

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No doubt the coming months will be difficult as Montans watch as lawmakers seek to chisel away our constitutionally protected right to privacy. But as activists, leaders and supporters of the reproductive rights movement in Montana, we will not be deterred.

Our community is united against attacks on our physical autonomy, sexual and reproductive health, and personal medical choices. Throughout the session and beyond, we will push back harmful bills and backward policies — and advance ways to ensure equitable access to the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health care. Elected officials can expect to hear from Montanans across the state, as we remind them that they are working on behalf of their constituents and not for out-of-state extremist organizations pushing model legislation. We will not stand idly by while our rights are compromised over cheap political issues. We will be there every step of the way to remind lawmakers, the Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Office of the Governor that Montana residents deserve and demand access to quality health care, including sexual and reproductive care. We need to be able to make our most private medical decisions without their interference.

Montanans face a number of challenges in this new year. Access to quality care for our reproductive and sexual health should not be one of them. We urge Montans to keep abreast of what is happening in Helena over the next few months and to make a habit of calling out their lawmakers to thwart dangerous anti-abortion laws while supporting those defending our rights and expand.

Signed by: ACLU of Montana, All Families Healthcare, Blue Mountain Clinic, Bridgercare, Crescent Montana, Hillary-Anne Crosby, Montana Human Rights Network, Montana NOW, Montana Racial Equity Project, Montanans for Choice, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana, Reproductive Health Access Project – Montana Chapter, Susan Wicklund Fund and UM Gender Equity Resource Center.