This State Is Actually Protecting Reproductive Rights

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In the conversation around state regulations on women's reproductive rights, it's been almost all bad news in recent months, but there's one state that has quietly fought off attempts to reduce abortion access. Last week, Montana Governor Steve Bullock vetoed three bills that would have restricted abortion access in the state.

The three bills that Bullock vetoed would have placed restrictions on private insurance coverage for abortions, forced doctors to use fetal anesthesia for abortions at 20 weeks (a practice based on medically inaccurate claims about fetal pain), and banned healthcare providers from using telemedicine for medication abortions, which helps women in rural states that have few abortion providers, like Montana.

Bullock said in a statement, "As elected officials, we should all be working together to expand access to health-care services in Montana. Unfortunately, HB587 and several other bills proposed this session seek to do just the opposite, particularly for women and families living in the more rural part of our state.”

Telemedicine, where a doctor counsels a patient remotely via video and the patient gets abortion medication from another provider, isn't being used yet in Montana, but the vetoed bill would have made it impossible for abortion providers to set up a telemedicine program. Without such services, women have to travel, sometimes great distances, in order to get care.

The first months of 2015 have seen more than 300 attempts by legislators to restrict abortion access, including laws signed by governors in Arkansas and Arizona that require doctors to give women medically inaccurate information. Attacks like these happening nationwide only underscore the importance of Governor Bullock's moves in Montana.

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