Steve Bullock on Abortion

Democratic Presidential Challenger (withdrawn); MT Governor


Women should decide, not government

Q: When do you think life begins?

A: I think that the Supreme Court settled this 45 years ago. And it's not my decision to be making what the decision that a woman needs to make, in consultation with her doctor and her family and her faith, if she so chooses. I would say that life begins at viability. But it's not up to people like me to be making these decisions. It's what does an individual woman need to do with her body and with her health care? Those aren't decisions that I should be making.

Source: CNN SOTU 2019 interview of presidential hopefuls , May 19, 2019

100 percent rating from NARAL

In 2017, Bullock vetoed a bill that barred doctors from performing late-term abortions. The abortion rights group NARAL gave Bullock a 100 percent rating during his gubernatorial election.
Source: PBS News Hour 2020, "Where the candidate stands on 9 issues" , May 15, 2019

An abortion, even late-term, is a legal, personal decision

Gov. Bullock vetoed a proposal that would bar doctors from performing late-term abortions. Bullock said lawmakers should not interfere in "deeply personal medical decisions." The legislation would have banned late-term abortions by requiring doctors to try to save the life of a viable fetus. "A woman could be subjected to forced caesarian section or inducement of labor if continuing her pregnancy after viability threatened her life--in violation of established legal precedent," Bullock said.
Source: The Missoulian on 2020 Montana gubernatorial race , May 9, 2017

Keep Title X funding for reproductive health services

Governor Steve Bullock released the following statement on the federal proposal which would eliminate Title X family planning funding:

"The reproductive health of low-income women is too important to become a partisan football, which is why--unlike Congress--Montana has removed these decisions from political fights. The move to zero out Title X funding is dangerous and puts the health and safety of Montana women at risk. It's this type of partisan gamesmanship that has Montanans so frustrated with Washington DC."

As governor, Bullock has worked to expand access to reproductive health services for Montanans. He signed into law a measure that makes Title X funding a statutory appropriation, meaning it will not be subject to partisan fights in the legislature. Title X funding provides individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive services, including contraception, mammograms, and other cancer screenings.

Source: 2015 Montana Governor's office press release governor.mt.gov , Jun 17, 2015

Rejected that insurers have plans with and without abortion

Bullock rejected a bill by Sen. Cary Smith that would have required health insurers that offer coverage plans that include elective abortions to also provide a reciprocal plan that does not cover elective abortions. Bullock said the proposal could leave women without coverage options necessary for unforeseen events. "SB 349 would create additional administrative burdens and costs for insurance companies, potentially doubling the number of insurance products, and ultimately leading to increased costs," Bullock wrote.

Legislative Summary: An act requiring an issuer who offers health insurance coverage that includes elective abortion coverage to also sell health insurance coverage that does not include elective abortion coverage.

Governor's Veto Message: As a father, husband, and son, I stand firmly opposed to restrictions on a woman's ability to make deeply personal medical decisions in consultation with her medical provider, family members, and spiritual leaders.

Source: Great Falls Tribune on Montana voting records for SB 349 , Apr 30, 2015

Vetoed "ministries" operating outside of insurance law

SB 181: Exempt health care sharing ministries from insurance laws

Summary by The Montana Post, May 25, 2018: Under SB181, reproductive health care options can be refused in the same manner Hobby Lobby refuses to cover birth control for their employees. The Democratic State Auditor's office noted the measure would strip consumers of health insurance protections under state insurance law and prevent the agency from investigating complaints.

Governor's Veto Message, Apr/5/13 : SB 181 creates a loophole in the insurance code for any entity calling itself a "health care sharing ministry." By exempting these ministries from the same regulations governing other insurers, SB 181 opens the door to fraud and abuse. It would distort the charitable purpose of health care sharing ministries and leave Montanans vulnerable.

Legislative outcome: Passed House 58-39-3, Mar/20/13; Passed Senate 31-18-1, Feb/22/13; Vetoed by Governor Steve Bullock Apr/5/13.

Source: The Montana Post on Montana legislative voting record SB 181 , Apr 5, 2013

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