Born-alive referendum failing by 19,713 votes at midnight

In election results from just after 2 a.m. Wednesday, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act constitutional referendum was failing by a nearly 24,000-vote margin.

Polls closed at 8 p.m. and six hours later the referendum had opposition from 53% of voters, with 625 of the state’s 663 precincts either partially or fully reporting.

Beginning at 8p.m., the Montana Secretary of State’s Office will release general election results. Tallies will be updated throughout the evening. 

Legislative Referendum 131 says that “infants born alive, including infants born alive after an abortion, are legal persons.” It would require “health care providers to take necessary actions to preserve the life of a born-alive infant” and comes with penalties of up to 20 years in jail and a $50,000 fine.

The referendum was put on the ballot by Republican lawmakers in the 2021 legislative session after they abandoned a path to enact the policy through passing a law and instead put the constitutional amendment to Montana voters. Supporters of the legislation say it is necessary in order to protect infants.

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