Montana Senate OKs Legislation to Revive Parental Notification Law on Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
February 25, 2009
Helena, MT (LifeNews.com) — The Montana state Senate on Tuesday signed off on legislation that would revive the state’s parental notification law on abortion. Montana law requires parents to be notified before a minor has an abortion but a 1999 State District Court ruling found it unconstitutional.
A bill by Sen. Gary Perry amend the law to allow a woman under the age of 18 to bypass the parental notification law if a court finds her to be competent and finds the abortion is in the (womans) best interests.
Perry said his amendments would give new grounds for the 1999 court ruling to be challenged.
During the debate, perry said it didn’t make sense that abortion was treated in a different manner as dispensing medication, tattoos, and body piercings — all of which require parental notification before the teenager and co through with he request.
"If you believe this bill is unconstitutional, then why have you not declared the unconstitutionality of parental authority for all medical procedures," Perry asked his colleagues.
The Senate approved the bill on a 29-21 vote on second reading and, after the third reading vote, the bill will move to the state House for consideration. There, pro-life advocates say they will likely have a tougher time getting the measure approved.
The vote came mostly along party lines with Democratic Sens. Jim Keane and Jonathan Windy Boy joining Republicans to support it.
Abortion advocates say the bill doesn’t address the privacy issues in the ruling.
During the debate, Sen. David Wanzenried, a Missoula Democrat who is a longtime abortion advocate, claimed the bill would hurt teenagers who don’t have good home situations. However, the law already provides for a judicial bypass in abuse and other situations where a teenager has a legitimate reason to be concerned about her well-being.
In 2007, 139 minors got abortions. Between 25 and 28 did so without notifying their parents.
Right to Life of Montana and other pro-life supporters backed the bill while the ACLU of Montana, Montana NARAL and Planned Parenthood opposed it.
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