Born-alive referendum failing by 52%-to-48% margin; 75% of votes counted

In election results as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act constitutional referendum was failing by a nearly 18,000-vote margin.

Polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday night and by Wednesday afternoon was at 57%, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. About 75% of the vote statewide had been counted.

There were 216,415 votes cast against the referendum compared to 198,439 for it by Wednesday afternoon.

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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