The Billings Outpost

Unborn child bill debated

By AMY R. SISK - Community News Service - UM School of Journalism

HELENA – Three weeks into the legislative session, a number of bills have finally reached the Montana House or Senate for a vote.

Two of those bills drew significant debate last week on the House floor.

A proposal to criminalize assaults on unborn children passed 59-40, with proponents saying they want to appropriately punish people who hurt pregnant women by charging them with homicide when their actions kill a fetus. Opponents to House Bill 104 argued the measure creates a legal definition for “unborn child” in the state code, thus opening the floodgates to anti-abortion measures.

Supporters of another bill said they want to prevent problems related to illegal immigration in Montana. House Bill 50, which passed 61-37, prohibits municipal governments from establishing “sanctuary” policies that do not enforce immigration laws. Legislators who opposed the bill asserted that it is not necessary because Montana does not have an illegal immigration problem.

Those bills must next pass the Senate and receive the governor’s signature before they can become law.

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