Montana abortion rights group launches ballot initiative

April 17, 2024

A reproductive rights group in Montana launched an initiative Tuesday to include a state constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights on the ballot in the general election this November.

On Tuesday, Montanans Securing Reproductive Rights announced that it has officially launched its signature drive to get the required 60,000 signatures from Montanans by June 21 to qualify the measure on the ballot.

The constitutional initiative, CI-128, would amend the state constitution “to expressly provide a right to make and carry out decisions about one’s own pregnancy, including the right to abortion. It would prohibit the government from denying or burdening the right to abortion before fetal viability,” the ballot language states.

The measure also states that the government would be prohibited “from denying or burdening access to an abortion” when the patient’s doctor or treating practitioner “determines it is medically indicated to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.”

The amended constitution would also say explicitly that the government could not penalize any party involved in someone’s “voluntary decisions about their pregnancy.”

Since the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to an abortion, numerous states have passed near-total bans on abortion access. Fear about further restrictions to reproductive care has led to similar ballot initiatives in states around the country to enshrine abortion rights in state constitutions.

 “With 2024 shaping up to be the biggest year ever for abortion on the ballot, it is critical that Montanans can make their voices heard on this issue,” read a statement from Kelly Hall, executive director of the Fairness Project, which has backed abortion-rights ballot measures in states including Ohio, Michigan and Vermont.

“Anti-abortion extremists have tried to interfere in Montanans’ personal health care choices again and again. That’s totally unacceptable — Montanans deserve to make their own decisions about reproductive care, not have politicians decide for them,” Hall said.