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Gianforte kicks off giving campaign at Clear Choice Clinic

Daily Inter Lake | November 29, 2023 12:00 AM

Gov. Greg Gianforte reaffirmed his support for anti-abortion institutions on the first day of his 12 Days of Giving campaign with a more than $20,000 donation to Clear Choice Clinic in Kalispell on Nov. 28.

“It's really a pleasure that on our first day of giving … that we’re here at Hope Pregnancy Ministries,” Gianforte said. “We love to support organizations that are pro-life.”

The governor’s Flathead Valley visit highlighted Hope Pregnancy Ministries, which includes Clear Choice Clinic and Hope Family Resource Center. Clear Choice Clinic offers free pregnancy exams, STD testing, professional counseling and well-woman care to Flathead County residents, with a focus on pregnant individuals considering abortion. 

“We want to provide life-affirming care to people who don't necessarily have the same worldview that we have,” said Michelle Reimer, the clinic’s executive director. 

State Reps. Courtenay Sprunger, R-Kalispell, and Tony Brockman, R-Evergreen, joined the governor for his visit to Kalispell. Both contributed donations of diapers for the clinic. 

During the annual campaign, Gianforte visits a dozen nonprofits throughout the state. Of those 12, four of the organizations receive a portion of the governor’s salary. Clear Choice Clinic was the first awardee, receiving a check of $20,425, roughly a fourth of the governor’s salary after taxes, Gianforte said. 

“Our hope, through this program, is that Montanans will learn about these nonprofits and choose to support them,” he said of the campaign. 

His visit to Clear Choice Clinic came as abortion rights advocates look to put a constitutional amendment before voters that would enshrine access to abortions in Montana. If the amendment ends up on the 2024 ballot and is approved by voters, the state constitution would clarify the right to a pre-viability abortion. 

Abortion access in Montana hinges on a 1999 state Supreme Court decision that protected the procedure under the constitution’s right to privacy. That ruling has left a slew of newly passed laws aimed at curtailing abortion access held up in litigation. 

“Well, this is one of the ways that policies get adopted and it would be up to the voters of Montana,” GIanforte said in response to the initiative. “I ran as a pro-life candidate because we believe that life is precious and should be protected, and that's part of the reason why we picked Hope Pregnancy Ministries as a place to start our 12 days of giving.” 

Last November, Montana citizens rejected a Republican-backed referendum that would have required medical providers to give life-sustaining care to newborns born after an induced abortion, natural labor or a C-section, even if the child had no chance of survival. 

This is the third year of the governor’s 12 Days of Giving campaign. The campaign will run until Dec. 13 as Gianforte travels the state to highlight 11 more nonprofits. 

Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at kheston@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.