During a legislative session, there are over 1,000 bills, amendments and motions a single legislator will vote on over a course of four months. It’s our job to accurately represent you, the people of Montana with each vote. However, our Montana Constitution provides for another way for the people’s voice to be heard. That is through a ballot initiative. There are times an issue of such great importance arises that the people should weigh in directly. LR 131, “Adopting the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act” is one of those issues. This referendum will be on your ballot this November and the choice is simple. A YES vote for LR 131 will do exactly what the title states – protect all infants that are born alive. This is different from the abortion debate. This law only affects medical providers intentionally allowing children born alive to perish. Opposition suggests this would require doctors to try miraculous efforts to save terminal babies. No, LR 131 would not require that a hospice infant be taken from its family. Directly in the language of LR 131, it states health care providers must take “medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant.” Hospice care is appropriate, and it is disingenuous of the opposition to misconstrue and belittle the hospice line of healthcare. Medically appropriate and reasonable healthcare is the treatment you and I expect when we visit our medical provider. Why would we not afford this same care to infants?
This vote should not be a political vote. Regardless of your party affiliation or politics, living infants deserve protection. In 2002, Republican President George W. Bush signed into law the national Born Alive Act (but without reporting requirements or penalties that LR 131 has added). Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called the bill unnecessary but said he and other Democrats would support it anyway. “A baby born alive is a baby, a human being under the terms of the law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This bill merely restates this.” Has so much changed in 20 years that we can’t agree that born alive infants deserve appropriate medical care? LR 131 only affects medical providers that would intentionally allow an infant to die.
This November we have a choice. Are we going to be a state of compassion for these infants or are we going to be a state that leaves the potential for the horrific measure of infanticide? I have faith in the hearts and the compassion of the people of Montana. Vote YES for LR 131 and make clear the protections of infants born alive.
Matt Regier is a Republican state representative from Kalispell.
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