by Steven Ertelt
January 24, 2007
Helena, MT (LifeNews.com) — A state legislative committee in the Montana legislature debated two bills on Tuesday that would allow parents to know when their minor daughter is considering an abortion. Backers of the bills say they will strengthen parental rights, protect teenagers in the state and lower the number of abortions.
Montana lawmakers previously approved a parental involvement statute but it was eventually struck down by the Montana Supreme Court.
The state’s high court improperly used a privacy clause in the state constitution meant to protect citizens from government surveillance and claimed it also protects an unlimited right to an abortion.
Rep. Michael Lange, a Billings Republican, reintroduced a bill that would amend the Montana constitution to allow for parental notification. Rep. Tom McGillvray, also a GOP member from Billings, has introduced a bill revising the parental notification law to meet some of the court’s objections.
Lange’s bill would need the support of two-thirds of the state legislature and be approved by voters to take effect. He said there was no hidden agenda behind the bill.
"The court is sending us a message … to make it clear," Lange said, according to an AP report. "That’s why this bill is here."
McGillvray said his bill would satisfy the court by clarifying the times when a teenager can get a judicial bypass in cases of parental abuse.
"Montana should not be a mecca for minor girls coming here for abortions," McGillvray told the committee, saying that there were 184 abortions on minors last year.
However, pro-abortion groups such as the ACLU of Montana opposed the bills.
According to AP, Deborah Smith of the ACLU told members of the House Judiciary Committee that the bills would just be struck down by the courts.
"This bill, if you enact it, it would be certain to be struck down again," Smith said.
Related web sites:
Montana State Legislature – https://leg.state.mt.us/css/default.asp