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MT governor signs bills protecting life, conscience rights

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Denise Burke regarding Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s signing Wednesday of the Infant Care and Safety Act, a bill that protects life by providing legal protections to and ensuring appropriate medical care for children who survive abortions:

“Every human life is valuable, and every baby deserves to be protected. By enacting this critical legislation, Montana has affirmed the basic human rights of vulnerable children, whether born or unborn. The Infant Care and Safety Act provides legal protection for babies who survive abortions, ending the inhumane practice where these children can be left to die without even minimal effort being made to save them. The bill is an important step in advancing human rights and protecting vulnerable babies in Montana. We’re grateful to Gov. Gianforte, Speaker Matt Reiger, the primary sponsor Representative Kerri Seekins-Crowe, and the Montana Legislature for standing for life by enacting this legislation. While other states like California and New York are pushing extreme abortion laws that allow abortion on demand up to birth for any reason, Montana is working to protect vulnerable babies.”

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Stephanie Nichols regarding Gianforte’s signing Wednesday of the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act (MED Act), a bill that protects doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and organizations from being forced to participate in health care services that violate their conscience:

“Americans should not be forced to violate their ethical and religious beliefs, and this certainly includes doctors, nurses, and other medical providers. The MED Act ensures that medical professionals aren’t compelled to breach their oath to ‘do no harm’ by being required to participate in procedures or treatments that violate their conscience. Driving out doctors, nurses, and other medical providers from their professions because of their faith commitments means fewer health care options for patients at a time when our nation’s health care system is overstretched and experiencing a dire shortage of providers. In light of the Biden administration’s ongoing attacks on medical conscience rights at the federal level, we commend Gov. Gianforte and the Montana Legislature for providing more choices for patients in Montana by protecting the right of medical professionals in the state to live in accordance with their ethical and religious beliefs as they offer their much-needed services.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Denise Burke

Denise Burke serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a member of the Center for Public Policy. In this role, her efforts are directed toward protecting life from conception to natural death and defending the conscience rights of health care professionals. Prior to joining ADF, Burke served as vice president of legal affairs for Americans United for Life. She began her career with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, United States Air Force, both on active duty and in the reserve. Rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, she served as an instructor at the USAF JAG School and on the editorial board of the Air Force Law Review. In response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Burke volunteered to serve again on active duty. In recognition of her service, the Air Force awarded her the Meritorious Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. A member of the state bar of Texas, Burke is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and multiple federal district and appellate courts. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Maryland, followed by her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University.

ABOUT Stephanie Nichols

Stephanie Nichols serves as legal counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Legislative Advocacy. She is an advocate for religious freedom, freedom of conscience and a free marketplace of ideas. She is passionate about protecting the ability of citizens to fulfill their callings by protecting conscience rights for all people. Her special focus at ADF is legislation to protect medical conscience rights. Prior to joining ADF, Nichols was in private practice in the areas of business law, estate planning, illegal taxation and real estate. She also assisted with freedom of conscience, religious liberty, freedom of speech and pro-life efforts in Arkansas. Nichols began her career in commercial litigation and then worked in higher education administration for Arkansas State University-Beebe, where she worked in federal and state legislative relations, risk management, public relations and policy issues. Nichols holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she served on the editorial board of the Arkansas Law Review and graduated summa cum laude. She also holds a Master of Arts in journalism degree from the University of Arkansas.