Judge Blocks Law Letting Women See Ultrasounds Because He Worries Mothers May Choose Life

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 12, 2021   |   5:09PM   |   Helena, Montana

A Montana judge blocked a pro-life law late last week that makes sure mothers have the opportunity to see their unborn baby on an ultrasound screen before going through with an abortion.

KTVH Helena reports Yellowstone County District Judge Michael Moses issued a preliminary injunction blocking the ultrasound law and two others in response to a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood of Montana.

Moses, an appointee of former pro-abortion Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock, described the case as of “extreme constitutional importance” prior to issuing the order, according to Reuters.

The three pro-life laws, which passed the state legislature this spring, protect unborn babies and mothers from the abortion industry. The ultrasound law requires that abortion facilities ask women if they want to see their unborn baby’s ultrasound or hear his/her heartbeat before the abortion. A second law bans abortions after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence shows unborn babies are capable of feeling pain, and a third law puts safety restrictions on dangerous abortion drugs.

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In his order, however, Moses said the laws likely are unconstitutional and would cause “irreparable harm” to patients of Planned Parenthood of Montana by taking away their “constitutionally protected right” to an abortion, according to the report.

He argued that just giving the mother a chance to see her unborn baby’s ultrasound image could “stigmatize or discourage women from obtaining an abortion in Montana.” Moses said the law also “compels government-approved speech that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.”

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s Office slammed the ruling, saying the laws provide “common-sense health protections” to mothers and unborn children.

“It’s not surprising that Planned Parenthood is attacking our laws, since no one benefits more from sub-standard health protections than abortionists and their businesses,” spokeswoman Emilee Cantrell said.

Martha Stahl, president of Planned Parenthood of Montana, slammed the laws as “cruel” and thanked the judge for giving them a “victory.”

All three laws passed the state legislature in the spring, and Gov. Greg Gianforte signed them in April.

The Montana Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, state House Bill 136, prohibits abortions at 20 weeks when an unborn baby is capable of feeling pain.

A second pro-life law, state House Bill 140, requires that the pregnant mother be given the opportunity to see an ultrasound and listen to her unborn baby’s heartbeat before she gets an abortion.

The third bill, the Adopt the Montana Abortion-Inducing Drug Risk Protocol Act (House Bill 171), adds safety requirements for abortion drugs, including a requirement that the women see a doctor in person before being prescribed the drugs.

Alliance Defending Freedom, which is working with Montana to defend the laws, criticized the abortion industry for fighting against “modest standard-of-care improvements” for women and children.

“Every woman deserves to have all the information she needs to make the healthiest choice for everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy. In addition, the state has the duty to ensure that women are not subjected to unnecessary medical risks,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle. “Tragically, many women turn to abortion as a last resort, unaware of the resources available to them. No one benefits more from this situation than abortionists and their facilities. Because the regulations at issue protect women from the very people who are suing against these laws, Planned Parenthood has no basis for asking the court to halt what the legislature had every prerogative to pass.”