Montana House Approves Abortion Bill Requiring Parental Notification

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Montana House Approves Abortion Bill Requiring Parental Notification Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 5
, 2007

Helena, MT ( — Objections from the state’s highest court on a previous law requiring parental notification on abortion would be addressed under legislation the Montana state House approved on Saturday. The House backed a measure to revise the parental notice statute the Montana Supreme Court previously declared unconstitutional.

Rep. Tom McGillvray, a Billings Republican, is behind the measure the House backed on a 58-42 vote. A final vote on the bill is scheduled for today.

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.

"It’s absurd that we put laws in effect that govern many, many decisions for our minors," McGillvray said, referring to parental notification requirements for body piercings and school field trips.

"But then when it comes to an invasive procedure like abortion with physical and mental effects that can be scarring for life, that somehow we think that’s different," McGillvray said, according to an AP report.

"Montana should not be a mecca for minor girls coming here for abortions," McGillvray told the legislative committee that approved the measure.

He said there were 184 abortions on minors last year.

Montana lawmakers previously approved a parental involvement statute in 1995 but it was eventually struck down by the Montana Supreme Court in the 1999 Armstrong case.

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.

During the debate, Rep. Teresa Henry, a Missoula Democrat, said the bill would "put barriers in the way to (abortions)" causing people to "have illegal abortions" and die. But Rep. Penny Morgan, a Republican, asked the House to "do what’s right."

Pro-abortion groups such as the ACLU of Montana opposed the McGillvray bill.

Deborah Smith of the ACLU told members of the House Judiciary Committee that the bill would be struck down again by the courts but its supporters say that won’t happen.

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