How Did Helena Area Legislators Score on Choice?

NARAL Pro-Choice Montana has released its legislative scorecard for choice at the most recent legislative session. As they note, the 2011 session witnessed an unprecedented number of attacks on choice and reproductive health, highlighting just how important it will be to hold the governor’s seat  and win back seats in the Legislature in 2012.

NARAL Pro-Choice Montana tracked nine bills this session, ranging from Cary Smith’s comically bad health education bill to Wendy Warburton’s incredibly dangerous bills to end long-held constitutional rights for women.

How did Helena-area legislators represent their constituents?

Liz Bangerter, HD 80—0%

Liz B. may listen, but apparently not to the women of her district, many of whom tried to convince her to represent their interests instead of her personal, narrow view of women’s health.

Steve Gibson, HD 78—30%

While I don’t agree with Representative Gibson on many issues, I do respect that he does appear to be a much more independent member of his caucus than many, as evidenced by his support for SB 276 and a few good votes on choice. Still, we can do better.

Alan Hale, HD 77—0%

It turns out that Representative Hale may only believe in the right to drive drunk.

Galen Hollenbaugh, HD 81-100%

Representative Holllenbaugh also scored 100% ratings in 2009 and 2007.

Chuck Hunter, HD 79-100%

Representative Hunter also scored  a 100% rating in 2009.

Mike Menahan, HD 82 –100%

Representative Menahana also received a 100% rating in 2009. One can only imagine what this number would look like had Kristi “armed insurrection”  Allen-Gailushas prevailed in her bid for this seat.

Mary Caferro, SD 40–100%

Senator Caferro has received a 100% rating each of her years in the House and Senate.

Christine Kaufman, SD 41 –100%

Senator Kaufmann has received a 100% rating her entire career in the House and Senate.

Dave Lewis, SD 42—0%

While Senator Lewis completed his transformation from a mainstream Republican to a member of the radical right this past session, he has always voted against choice, with a 15% rating in 2009 his best showing.

Thanks to NARAL Pro-Choice Montana for their efforts to track these critical votes, and more importantly, their fight for the rights of Montanans in the face of an often hostile, ill-informed legislative body. And thanks to Senators Kaufmann and Caferro, and Representatives Hollenbaugh, Hunter, and Menahan for voting to protect the health and privacy of Montana women.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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