Voting for Abortion Rights in Montana?!

Voting for Abortion Rights in Montana?!

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?

No IVF for you!

No IVF for you!

The future Republicans signed us up for is here.


This past week, the Alabama Supreme court ruled that frozen embryos can be considered children under state law. If it’s not obvious yet, if the courts say you can’t destroy an IVF embryo, you won’t have access to IVF. Why would you expect a business to open themselves up to that kind of liability? Not surprisingly, several clinics in Alabama have begun pausing their IVF procedures.

In response to the backlash, Republicans are scrambling to explain why judges they put in place and laws they passed have led us here. They can run from the truth, but they can’t hide from it. I mean, the orange one was just bragging that he’s the reason Roe fell!

This is a logical, inevitable conclusion of attacks on reproductive freedoms. If you claim life begins at fertilization, you rob women of the right to control their own reproduction. Instead, you remove the rights of the living, breathing person in front of you in favor of a potential life. How can a woman have true equality and bodily autonomy if she can’t choose when or whether to be pregnant?


Republicans hate reproductive freedom


People might say that’s extreme to say. But let’s get real. As we previously wrote about before, the Montana GOP explicitly supports a complete ban on abortions with NO EXCEPTIONS for rape, incest, or the life of the mother. Every Republican legislator in Great Falls has voted against abortion rights, again, and again. There are no moderate, elected Republicans willing to have a spine and stand up for women. They have made people with uteruses second class citizens.

If we want these poisonous changes to stop, we have to speak out and work to elect leaders that treat all people with dignity and respect. Leaders that care about our humanity, not just our reproductive abilities.

Republican Electioneering…Again

Republican Electioneering…Again

Great Falls, Montana

Electioneering noun the activity of trying to persuade people to vote for a particular political party.

The blatantly partisan slant of our Cascade County Elections Office has been a disturbing constant since the 2022 election and take over by the new Clerk and Recorder Sandra Merchant and her election conspiracy theory crowd. For example, last spring, the office had anti-library levy materials ahead of the library levy vote. Furthermore, it was reported to us that several cars parked in the parking lot had these stickers:

No Library Levy with a red circle and slash across the words

Despite the ironic double negative, this sticker was distributed by opponents of the library levy.

The logo on these bumper stickers were associated with the “Liberty and Values MT” group that we wrote about previously when their hateful billboards went up around town. 

Anti Library Levy billboard

These hateful billboards were up around Great Falls ahead of the Spring 2023 library levy.

What are they up to now?

Despite all of the public pushback and oversight, the Elections Office continues to act inappropriately and unethically.

As of February 16, 2024, the Elections office has several Bible verses and elephant figurines visibly decorating the space. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. Prominently displayed was this completely unacceptable photo. 

Do our “leaders” think this is an acceptable decoration in an Elections Office?

Yeah, let’s not pretend to misunderstand what a photo with the words “train them up young” and a child hugging an elephant means. This is beyond unacceptable electioneering. Utterly unethical bullshit. An elections officer holds one of the most important roles in our country’s free and fair elections. Citizens deserve a neutral space for their participation in the democratic process. 

Join us in letting our county commissioners know that we won’t stand for these materials to be displayed in OUR elections office. They need to come down immediately.

You can email the Cascade County Commissioners directly at: [email protected]

Quit playing games with my town 

Quit playing games with my town 

Last night, the City Commission meeting was HEATED. A packed room was there to discuss the appointments to the Library Board. 

Why are people showing up about library board appointments?

If you’re not in the know, in August the City Commission decided to put their thumb on the scale about “rubber stamping” board appointments — but only for the library board. *Cough cough, bullshit.* You can read our earlier blog post about their political maneuvering here: (

In August, the City Commission questioned how the library board, and only the library board, did their appointment process. Then the City Commision asked the library board to go back and redo the process again. The library board was asked to put out a public notice for applicants, interview those applicants, and give recommendations to the commission. Well, the library board did all the tasks the commission placed on them and put forth their appointment recommendations for Anne Bulger and Jerry Hopkins. These appointments to the library board were on the City Commission Meeting Agenda last night.

Commissioners playing games 

But the city commission wasn’t done fucking around with these volunteer board members. Commissioners Rick Tryon, Joe McKenny, and Eric Hinebauch (all well known to be Republicans) led the charge. Commissioner Rick Tryon made allegations that the library board is a rubber stamp based on their history of unanimous votes on motions. How many other boards have unanimous votes, Rick?? Wooo, conspiracy. “We need diversity,” and “we shouldn’t be a rubber stamp,” said Commissioner Joe McKenney. Okay that is completely unbelievable because why is the process only different for the library board, Joe?

Then to top it off, Commissioner Eric Hinebauch amended the appointment motion. Rather than accepting the motion that the City Commission follow the library board’s recommendations, Eric amended the motion to appoint Noelle Johnson instead of Jerry Hopkins to the board. WTF? 

Who is Noelle Johnson and why did Commissioner Hinebauch amend the motion in order to appoint her? Her affiliations became rapidly clear when the support for Noelle in the room was solely from the far-right Pachyderm crowd. Former County Commissioner Jane Weber made public comments that Noelle is associated with Sandra Merchant and her election fraud conspiracy group. We checked and yep, she signed that insane petition to return to only hand counting ballots that we previously flagged here: ( Yikes. When pressed by Mayor Kelly on why he amended the motion to appoint Noelle in particular, Commissioner Eric Hinebauch didn’t have a good reason. He mumbled something about wanting “diversity” on the board. Okay that isn’t at all persuasive. Why is she a good choice for the library board?? 

In the end the conservative block on the City Commission did what they came to do. They picked a partisan hack to install on the library board. Noelle Johnson and Anne Bulger were appointed to the library board. 

What can we do?

The silver lining is we get to vote on the makeup of our City Commission soon! That’s right, there’s a city election in November where you can vote for new City Commissioners. Remember in November. Vote! 


Independence Day or Anti-Liberty Day?

Independence Day or Anti-Liberty Day?

Disclaimer: Although I am the current Chair of the Cascade County Democrats, all opinions expressed in this post are my own, and I am not speaking on behalf of the Cascade County Democrats.

Story Time

It’s been a couple weeks since the dust has settled from the 4th of July parade in Great Falls. And do I have a story to tell you…

If State Representative Lola Sheldon-Galloway (R-Great Falls) and the other organizers of the City of Great Falls’ Fourth of July Parade had had their way, the Democrats would have been silenced. On the Tuesday before the parade, one of the officers of the Cascade County Democrats received this message from lead organizer Lola Sheldon-Galloway:

“Because of the Protesters that joined the entry last year, we are getting bad reviews and comments about the 4th of July Parade.  We want to remind you that the parade is not the place for protesting or ‘pushing’ an alternate agenda.   Protesting has its time and place and the 4th of July parade is not it.   We will not allow protesting from anyone as a part of the parade this year.  We would appreciate your help in making sure there won’t be an issue on Tuesday.   If you have any questions please reach out. 


Great Falls 4th of July parade committee”

That’s one hell of a position from an elected state representative whose campaign slogan is the sickeningly ironic “leave our liberties alone.”

What are they whining about?

With regards to the “protestors” of 2022, the Western Word blog wrote about the Cascade County Democrats participation in that year’s parade here. Emotions were extremely high after the fall of Roe v. Wade, and several pro-choice marchers walked in solidarity with the Democrats. Republicans and anti-choicers didn’t like that. And Lola and crew are apparently still holding a grudge.

What happened in the 2023 Parade?

After receiving Lola’s attempt at censorship, the Cascade County Democrats promptly disregarded it. As previously planned, the Democrats made sure to be in compliance with the parade participation rules on the application form and ensured there was no profanity or disturbing imagery on signs held in the parade. Political organizations, including Republican ones, often have signs of their organization’s platform. We are guaranteed a constitutional right to speech, and it would be quite the legally questionable decision if the City of Great Falls chose to enforce one set of standards upon Democrats while allowing all other entrants full and unabridged participation.

The parade went off without a hitch, with lots of energy from the Democratic participants. A video of the 2023 Democrats’ float and marchers can be seen here.

And that…made Lola big mad. 

More Whining from Sheldon-Galloway

On July 5th, Lola complained to the City Commission during public comment that “there is an issue that’s coming up. This has been the second year it’s happened. We had protestors in our parade, and we feel, as a committee, that it’s the wrong place with the wrong message with wording that children should not be seeing on the parade route, and it spoils the day….I had asked in advance…that just not be a part of our parade.” (at the video here around minute 31).

How to talk to our children?

As a parent myself, what messages should children not be seeing?

  • My body, my choice?
  • LGBTQ+?
  • Pro-choice?
  • Safe Abortions Save Lives?
  • Bans off our Bodies?

Parents have the ability to talk to their children in an age-appropriate way. If I thought my children were too young to understand something, I would use my words and BE A PARENT. “It’s a medical procedure, and I’ll tell you more about it when you are older.” Furthermore, how is that more disturbing than the gruesome staged pro-life signs outside of Planned Parenthood that Lola regularly joins and bafflingly pushes an empty baby stroller?

Lola pushing an empty baby stroller at an anti-choice protest

Real Life Version of Wrong Place, Wrong Message


Representative Lola Sheldon-Galloway can stay mad 

She and her Republican party have politicized our bodies, our medical procedures, and who we are to score political points. We’ve reported repeatedly on Rep. Sheldon-Galloway’s legislative hate here and here and here. People all over Montana and our country are needlessly suffering and some are dying because of legislators like Lola. How is that for a family friendly life?

All of us can appreciate standing up for our rights on Independence Day. 

Marching onward!