Guest Post on the Bullock-Hill Debate

The Montana Governor’s race is in full swing and, with PPAMT pink shirts in the audience and the crowd stickered in support of  women’s health, we waited with bated breath for the question that, more than anything else (for us anyway), defines candidates today: should women get to make their own healthcare decisions?
The question came about 2/3 of the way into the debate and was directed first to former Congressman Rick Hill. Without hesitation or equivocation, Hill got down to business by listing first his study of the issue (as a  man) and numerous moral positions (held by those churches exclusively governed by men) who helped inform his “prolife” stance in every circumstance. He then went one step further and equated taking an “aspirin” as a minor girl to being pregnant as a minor girl. Last time I checked, (as a woman and mother) I can state this with complete clarity: Taking an aspirin? Does not remotely compare to being pregnant and deciding whether or not to become a mother.
Attorney General Steve Bullock, on the other hand, gave a strong and equally unequivocal statement that decisions about women’s healthcare should be left to women and the people in their lives that they trust. Bullock cites our state’s constitutional right of privacy as a cherished Montana principle and states that “…we ought be doing more to promote women’s health, not making this a perennial issue and attacking it.”  With regard to LR 120, Bullock’s position about minor’s access to confidential counseling and care was nuanced and compassionate. As a father, Bullock hopes and prays that young women “have the support of their families” with regard to any decision about an unplanned pregnancy, but as the Attorney General he knows firsthand that not all girls come from safe homes and wants to know that “… those young women are protected and should be able to get healthcare.”
These two candidates could not be more different on this issue. Former Congressman Hill opposes access to safe and legal abortion, in all circumstances, and would make this decision for every Montana woman and her family. In comparision, Attorney General Steve Bullock shows a striking degree of compassion and understanding that ultimately – no matter the situation – supports the radical idea that every woman should have the right to make this decision on her own and with the people in her life (or her doctor’s office) that she trusts.
With little hope of reclaiming either chamber in the Montana Legislature (sorry my favorite and lovely legislators – you know who you are), every anti-woman bill and Republican efforts to close family planning health centers such as Planned Parenthood will be a reality under a Hill Administration.  Supporting the Steve Bullock and John Walsh ticket is a no-brainer in 2012 – we need to make sure that there is balance in Helena, not to mention a little common sense when it comes to women’s health.
Stacey Anderson
Director of Public Affairs
Planned Parenthood Advcoates of Montana

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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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  • I am personally opposed to abortion HOWEVER I am also a staunch supporter of Obama and others who support women’s health care. What seems to get lost between the cracks is the fact that many “abortion clinics” also provide valuable health care services for women, especially young women and the un(der)insured. Services provided by such clinics include but are not limited to preventative care (birth control, mammograms), counseling (which does not translate into coercing women to get abortions) and education. Abortion is a RELIGIOUS issue, an issue on which there will never be agreement. Labeling health care clinics such as Planned Parenthood is propoganda to promote a particular political faction’s beliefs, a way to bully voters into thinking like they do. What about the separation of church and state? What about personal liberty? As the election draws near, democrats will have my vote, not because I believe in everything every Domocrat espouses but because the greater good is more likely to be served be that party than under a Republican administration.

  • Great post. There is no question that we must elect Bullock for so many reasons. Hill as Governor? No thank you.
    However, I do have to say, Bullock needs to pick up his debate game.
    Again, great post.

  • How seriously uninformed can you be? To pin your entire future on what a candidates’s stance on abortion is, is ludicrous. Abortion is a wedge issue— it is used to divide. It is tossed out by the Democrat party to do exactly that– to divide and cause fear that someone (in this case, the Republicans) is going to ‘take something away from you’. I was at the debate; Rick Hill was asked his opinion and he gave it. You would actually think that the Democrat party would be very anti-abortion— they are losing future constituents! But then again, there’s always election fraud as a back-up plan.

    • Linda, you are interested only in politics: “wedge issues” and party strategy and “future constituents” and “back-up plans.” You think it’s “ludicrous” that the author would actually care about policy. How sad and how typical that politics trumps policy (see, e.g., US House of Representatives).

    • Linda, would you mind EXPLAINING just how the Dems are using election fraud to further their cause? Get off the AFR radio channel, woman. Your brain is getting mushy and may soon turn to mush!

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