HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two physician groups have asked Montana election officials to issue a correction to statements printed in a voter information pamphlet that they argue are false and and could confuse voters as they consider an abortion-related ballot measure.
The complaint comes from two groups that oppose a referendum that would raise the prospect of criminal charges for healthcare providers unless they take “all medically appropriate and reasonable actions to preserve the life” of an infant born alive, including after an attempted abortion.
At issue is language in the pamphlet written by supporters that explain the proposed measure.
Supporters say the referendum requires medical care to be provided if an infant is born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or other methods.
The physicians say supporters dropped a word from the language of the proposal and that the law, if passed, would also apply to an infant born as a result of natural labor, even if a fetus was born extremely preterm, and regardless of the infant’s prognosis or the family’s wishes.
The complaint was made Friday by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology on Friday. They asked the Montana Secretary of State’s Office to issue a correction to the statements.
State officials gave no indication they would act on the request.
A spokesperson for Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen said Monday he believed the office received the letter but added he’s not sure if election officials have had an opportunity to review or respond to it.
“As you can imagine the entire office is swamped right now,” Richie Melby said in a statement, referring to preparations for the Nov. 8 election,
Attorneys for the physician groups said they had not received a response by Monday afternoon.
Absentee ballots were mailed out on Oct. 14.