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Group wants rollbacks of some IA voting restrictions; RSV, Flu, COVID: KY faces "Triple Threat" this winter; Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

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The Senate passes a bill forcing a labor agreement in an effort to avoid a costly railway worker strike. The House Ways and Means Committee has former President Trump's tax returns in hand. The Agriculture Committee is looking at possible regulations for cryptocurrency following the collapse of cryptocurrency giant FTX. The Supreme Court will be reviewing the legality of Biden s student debt relief program next year. Anti-semitic comments from Ye spark the deletion of tweets from the the House Judiciary Committee GOP's Twitter account.

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The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Added Protection for Abortion Access in MT Could be Overturned

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Friday, April 1, 2022   

Montana is part of a national trend of increasing challenges to abortion access. An injunction was placed on three abortion restriction bills passed in the 2021 session. Now, Attorney General Austin Knudsen wants the state Supreme Court to lift the injunction.

The barrier to the bills being enforced is a 1999 case, Armstrong v. State, in which abortion access was linked to Montana's privacy protections. Knudsen called the decision "judicial activism."

Caitlin Borgmann, executive director of the ACLU of Montana, described the Armstrong decision as "Montana's Roe v. Wade."

"Without overturning Armstrong, they know that the measures like the ones that passed in 2021 are unconstitutional," she said. "I think that's pretty obvious, and that's why the attorney general is asking the Montana Supreme Court to overturn Armstrong."

The ACLU of Montana, along with the National Women's Law Center and the Center for Reproductive Rights, have filed a "friend of the court" brief, asking the court to keep the Armstrong decision in place. The bills lawmakers passed in 2021 restrict abortion after 20 weeks, require ultrasounds for patients seeking abortions and create barriers to obtaining abortion medication in person and by mail.

Borgman said a contingent of Montana politicians has made it their mission to stop abortions, but past polls have shown the majority of Montanans believe the medical procedure should be legal, in all or most cases.

"I don't think that that threat necessarily represents the will of Montanans as a whole," she said, "and Montana is just different, in that we have this specific protection in the Montana Constitution."

Borgmann said overturning the privacy protections in the Armstrong decision would affect more than just abortion access. She contended it would harm the state's most vulnerable populations, especially members of the LGBTQ community.

"These laws are a clear and deliberate attempt by politicians to undermine and denigrate the Montana Constitution," she said, " and not just the right to abortion, but the right to privacy more generally."


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