Montana Senate Advances Bill Requiring Effort to Also Save Baby if Mother’s Life in Danger

Photo Credit: Nora Pacher

HELENA, Mont. — Senators in Montana have advanced a bill written by an orthopedic surgeon, which would require an effort to save the life of an unborn child in late-term pregnancies where the mother’s life is believed to be in danger.

Senate Bill 282 passed the Senate 32-18 on Thursday, and is now under consideration by the Montana House. The bill was presented by Sen. Albert Olszewski, R-Kalispell, who has worked as a physician for over 20 years.

“It reverses the pro-choice argument that the safest way to save a woman’s life is to kill the baby,” he noted to reporters, advising that the measure was inspired by a real-life situation.

Olszewski says that his legislation would be a win-win because it would both “produce a live birth and it’s safe for the mother.” It applies to babies “24 weeks or more, or that a [baby] is able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid, whichever occurs earlier.”

“[T]he United States Supreme Court has determined that states have a legitimate interest in protecting both a woman’s health and the potentiality of human life and that each interest grows and reaches a compelling point at various stages of a woman’s approach to the full term of a pregnancy,” the introduction to the bill outlines.

It requires that if the mother’s life is deemed to be in danger, rather than being killed, her unborn child must be removed from the womb either through induced labor or Cesarean Section, and then the baby must receive medical attention as a premie.

“[I]f in the medical judgment of a licensed physician or physician assistant, a physical condition exists that poses an immediate, serious risk of death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman or viable fetus, a physician shall terminate the pregnancy by inducing labor or delivering the viable fetus by Cesarean section,” S.B. 282 reads in part.

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“The physician may not intentionally cause the death of the viable fetus prior to or during delivery and shall provide life-sustaining support to the viable fetus,” it mandates.

Planned Parenthood has denounced the bill as being “extreme” and that it “requires women to undergo invasive medical procedures that might not be the best medical options for a woman.”

However, as previously reported, former U.S. Attorney General C. Everett Koop had likewise declared that abortion is never necessary to save the mother’s life, and said that the standard practice is always to remove the baby and assist both mother and child.

“Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen,” he said. “In my thirty-six years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be be aborted to save the mother’s life.”

“When a woman is pregnant, her obstetrician takes on the care of two patients—the mother-to-be and the unborn baby. If, toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, he will take the child by inducing labor or performing a Caesarian section,” Koop explained. “His intention is still to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby will be premature. The baby is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger.”

Dr. Lawrence Koning of Corona, California made similar statements last October after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sought to defend her stance on late-term abortion.

“As an OB/GYN physician for 31 years, there is no medical situation that requires aborting/killing the baby in the third trimester to ‘save the mother’s life,’” he wrote on social media in response to her statements.

“Just deliver the baby by C-section and the baby has 95+% survival with readily available NICU care even at 28 weeks,” Koning said. “C-section is quicker and safer than partial birth abortion for the mother.”

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