the republic logo

Montana Supreme Court: State can defend parental notification, consent laws involving abortion

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

HELENA, Montana — The Montana Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that court hearings must be held to determine the constitutionality of laws requiring parental notice and parental consent before minors can have abortions.

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit over a 1995 law that required doctors to notify parents before performing an abortion on a minor under the age of 18. In 1999, a District Court judge ruled that law was unconstitutional.

In 2011, Montana voters passed a ballot measure requiring parental notice before performing abortions on minors under the age of 16. Two years later, the Legislature passed a law requiring parental consent for abortions performed on minors under 18.

Planned Parenthood sued, arguing the 1999 ruling meant the later laws also were unconstitutional and the same issues shouldn't be argued again by the same parties. District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock agreed in January 2014 decision.

The state appealed and the Supreme Court ruled 4-1 that the issues were not identical. Specifically, the court noted that the 1995 law applied to all minors under 18, while the 2011 law applied only to minors under 16. The 1995 law required parental notification, but the 2013 law requires parental consent. They sent the case back to District Court.

Planned Parenthood issued a statement Tuesday calling the laws harmful.

"Make no mistake — this is not over," said Martha Stahl, the group's president. "We remain fully confident that these laws are not only bad health policy, but also clear violations of young Montana women's constitutional rights."

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said he was pleased with the ruling.

"More than 70 percent of Montana voters and a majority of legislators enacted the parental notification and parental consent laws," Fox said in a statement. "The will of the people has been made clear. Today's ruling means we can move forward in vigorously defending the fundamental rights of parents to be involved in the decisions their children face."

Thirty-eight states require parental consent or notification before a minor can have an abortion.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2015 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.