Featured photo, no, Austin Knudsen did not literally say that about freedom. He just says it indirectly by his actions.

Well, well, well, it looks like Montanans might get a chance to vote on ensuring abortion access this November.

Constitutional Initiative No. 128 (CI-128) has made it to the signature gathering stage after jumping through numerous obstacles Republican Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Republican Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, and more threw in its way. The group behind the CI-128 effort, Montanans Securing Reproductive Rights (MSRR) are cleared for signature gathering. We should start seeing people working to collect signatures soon as the group has a sign up for signature gatherers on their website.

After a Montana Supreme Court ordered deadline, Secretary of State Jacobsen finally did her job and delivered the sample petition with the court-issued ballot language on April 5th.  You can see the language below.

CI-128 ballot language

Accuracy! Without biased, inflammatory language. What a little treat for us.

It’s nice to see a functioning judicial branch in Montana. Our Republican Attorney General Knudsen tried to block the ballot proposal as “legally insufficient” after a required review by his office. MSRR sued and the Montana Supreme Court found Austin Knudsen erred in finding the proposal for the 2024 ballot “legally insufficient.” Then Knudsen tried to push through some inflammatory pro-life language for the initiative. MSSR sued again asking the Court to certify its proposed ballot language and to invalidate Knudsen’s, which the group describes as “argumentative, prejudicial, and inaccurate.” And the Court agreed with MSRR! After some more legal wrangling (Thanks Austin! Thanks Christi! Eye rolling emoji), we have made it to the signature gathering stage.

We’ve seen the extremism that has gripped the Montana Republican Party that mirrors the extremism of the national Republican Party. We saw what the national Republican Party did with majorities in Congress. They held a Supreme Court Justice pick hostage. Installed an extremist conservative block on the Supreme Court. And overturned Roe v. Wade protections.

Republicans aren’t stopping at overturning Roe v. Wade. They want a national abortion ban. They are attacking access to IVF, contraceptives, and even no-fault divorce! Initiatives like this one help serve as a safeguard to protecting our rights. We’re keeping an eye on the signature gathering process. Abortion rights have won in every election since Roe v. Wade was overturned, will Montana follow the path we took in 2022 when the regressive anti-reproductive rights LR-131 was voted down?