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Montana governor vetoes bill aimed at banning late-term abortions

(YouTube/Governor Bullock)Montana Gov. Steve Bullock appears in a screen capture of a video from his YouTube channel.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed a bill that would have banned late-term abortions, claiming that terminating a pregnancy is a "deeply personal medical decision."

Senate Bill 282, which passed the Montana House and the Senate in April, would have required doctors to try to save the life of a "viable fetus," which is defined in the measure as a fetus that has at least a 50 percent chance of survival.

The legislation also defined fetal viability at 24 weeks' into pregnancy and it would have prevented abortions beyond that point, even in cases of medical emergency, according to Think Progress.

In a statement issued on Monday, Bullock stated that lawmakers should not interfere in "deeply personal medical decision."

Marissa Perry, press secretary for the governor, has previously stated that Bullock "strongly believes a woman's medical decision should stay between herself, her doctor, her family, and her faith." She also pointed to the Democratic governor's record of vetoing pro-life bills.

Montana lawmakers have introduced several pro-life measures such as a bill requiring fetal anesthesia before abortions, a bill redefining life at conception and a bill restricting the performance of abortions to licensed physicians.

However, the Guttmacher Institute noted that the state "does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions — such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement or limitations on publicly funded abortions — often found in other states."

Bullock had also vetoed SB 329, known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy.

Rep. Dennis Lenz (R-Billings), who supported the bill, said that he is offended when someone says men do not 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 when the House passed the bill last month.

He contended that the legislation was important to protect the lives of babies. Rep. Carl Glimm (R-Kila) agreed with him and said that measure fulfills the government's role in protecting the vulnerable.

"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," he said.

The bill was based on the belief that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain at that period, but proponents of abortion call it "junk science."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 5,770 late-term abortions were performed at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013. An estimated 8,150 abortions were conducted between 18 weeks and 20 weeks.

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