Montana Abortionist Closing Clinic

The clinic had been operational since 2018.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Dr. Claire Putnam, a Montana abortionist, is closing her practice and ceasing to perform abortions after about 4 years in business.
  • In the western city of Bozeman, Montana, where Montana State University is located, there are now no abortion clinics.
  • Putman claims to be a “pro-life” abortionist, saying she is “hesitant” and encourages mothers to take other avenues for unwanted pregnancies.
  • The doctor says she is a “purple person” who struggles to fit neatly into any one political category. Helping women and couples have healthy pregnancies is her favorite aspect of her job.
THE DOCTOR’S TAKE ON ABORTION:
  • Dr. Putnam said that she has been the only doctor in Bozeman who performs elective abortions since she opened her private practice, SHE Health and Wellness, in 2018. She plans to close the clinic soon.
  • “I’m a hesitant abortion provider in Montana,” Putnam said. “I would love to not do any elective abortions. Often I have talked people out of abortions.”
  • Her decision to close her private practice is partially motivated by financial concern but since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, she says she has felt differently about her work as an OB-GYN.
  • “I’m also afraid. That’s part of why I’m closing,” Putnam said. “Doctors are threatened for what they do. It’s kind of a threatening time.”
BACKGROUND:
  • Due to a 1999 Montana Supreme Court decision, abortion in Montana is protected by the state constitution’s right to privacy. In Montana, abortions are permitted up until fetal viability, or around 24 weeks, when the fetus can survive outside the womb.
  • The official platform of the Montana Republican Party was updated in July to include support for a complete ban on elective abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
  • A new state Supreme Court decision or a state constitutional amendment would be needed to limit abortions legally. The Montana Supreme Court was urged earlier this month by Governor Greg Gianforte to “reconsider [their] role in light of Dobbs and return policymaking to the legislature.”