Montana GOP Hears Abortion-Parental Notification Ballot Measure

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 25, 2011   |   4:04PM   |   Helena, MT

Republican legislators in Montana are proposing legislation that would allow parents to know when their minor daughters are considering an abortion, so they can help them find better alternatives.

They have proposed a bill that received a hearing in a state legislative committee today, that would require girls under the age of 18 to inform their parents or guardian when they are considering an abortion. The measure would allow lawmakers to take the proposal to the state ballot in 2012 should the governor veto another measure protecting teens and parents rights.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on  HB 627, by Rep. Jerry Bennett, a Republican from Libby. Because the bill is a constitutional amendment, 100 legislators must give their okay to the bill for it to go before voters on the state ballot.

Pro-life legislators have long sought to limit the misuse of the privacy clause in the state constitution to allow for unlimited abortions. Montana is one of a handful of states where the state Supreme Court has misconstrued the Constitution to support abortion. The Montana Constitution, which originated in the early 1970s, contains a privacy clause that the drafters meant to apply to government surveillance like wiretapping. Instead, in the 1999 Armstrong decision allowing non-physicians to do abortions, the Montana Supreme Court allowed a virtually unlimited right to abortion by claiming the clause made it so.

Sen. Dan McGee from Laurel previously said: “The people of Montana must decide this question — not the Supreme Court. The protection of unborn human life is indeed a compelling state interest.”

The bill is one of several that have been advancing in the state legislature. Senators have passed bills requiring parental notification of abortions as well as prohibiting abortions from being covered under the state health care exchanges created under Obamacare.

The House passed a bill aimed at preventing women from being coerced into having abortions. It would require a pre-abortion evaluation to determine if the woman was undergoing an abortion of her own free will. The House killed a bill that would have required pre-abortion ultrasound exams.

The House also advanced two proposed constitutional ballot measures, including one saying that Montanans have no specific right to an abortion and prohibiting public funding of abortions. The other would define a person to include unborn children.