Montana Governor Schweitzer Vetoes Parental Notification Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 13, 2011   |   12:13PM   |   Helena, MT

Governor Brian Schweitzer continued his abortion advocacy in Montana on Thursday when he vetoed a bill that would have protected girls and their parents on the issue of abortion on minors.

Montana currently has few laws to limit abortions or allow parents to know when their minor daughter is considering one because of a state Supreme Court ruling in the Armstrong case that essentially had the court overturning pro-life laws in Montana by claiming they violate the privacy provision in the state constitution created before Roe v. Wade and that had nothing to do with abortion. The drafters meant to apply the privacy clause to government surveillance like wiretapping.

The bill would have required 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.

Rep. Jerry Bennett, a Republican from Libby, was the sponsor of HB 627 and Schweitzer claimed it would be declared unconstitutional in court based on that 1999 decision striking down other pro-life laws.

However, because of the state ballot provision, it allows state voters to determine if they want parental notification before an abortion. That means Montanans will have the ability to decide for themselves whether they want parental involvement before an abortion.

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.”

This is the second pro-life bill Schweitzer has vetoed as he, last week, vetoed a measure proposing to make it illegal to kill an unborn child in criminal cases. The Unborn Victims bill is similar to the federal Laci Peterson legislation that protects women and unborn children by allowing prosecutors to charge criminals with two crimes when they kill both, instead of just one.

“I have issued this veto because I believe its primary purpose and focus is to serve a political agenda, not to protect pregnant women from violence or punish the acts of offenders,” the governor claimed. Abortion advocates opposed the bill because they refuse to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child, even outside the context of abortion.

Republicans do not have enough votes to override the veto of the unborn victims bill.

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