HELENA – Abortion foes seeking to expand the state’s parental notification law said Friday that voter-backed laws can trump the Montana Constitution.

The debate played significantly in a hearing on plans to rewrite and expand a recently passed ballot measure requiring minors under 16 years old to receive parental permission for an abortion.

House Bill 391 increases the age requiring consent to all minors under 18 years old.

It also requires both parent and teen to receive and sign a notification form about the dangers of the procedure written by the abortion foes, and makes many other changes to toughen the law.

Backers say it is a sequel to the ballot initiative that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November. Supporters said that Montanans made it clear that parents want to be more involved in the decisions.

And they defended the proposed expansion from a legal note suggesting the bill may violate the constitutional right to privacy protections that courts in the past have said prohibit government intrusion into health care decisions.

“The will of the people was clearly articulated, and I believe that needs to be taken into account,” said Jeff Laszloffy of the Montana Family Foundation. “The will of the people should never be held subservient to the Constitution.”

Opponents argued that the Constitution isn’t trumped by law, even those directly passed by voters.

“Our constitution was written to make sure that certain basic rights, like privacy, religious freedom, and equal protection under the law, aren’t stripped away at the whim of a popular vote of the majority,” said Niki Zupanic of the ACLU of Montana. “History is full of examples of voters or legislatures seeking to restrict the rights of an unpopular or powerless minority.”

Opponents, led by pro-abortion rights advocates, said most teens already involve their parents. They argued that some cannot, such as in cases of incest, and said requiring such permission can lead to more illegal abortions.

The advocates said that abortions have proven to be among the safest of medical procedures, contrary to the information in the lengthy consent form the bill would require.

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(13) comments

momof5

This has absolutely nothing to do with as some idiots say religious extremist. I am a mother of 5 kids and if my daughter got pregnant underage I don't want some doctor performing an abortion with out my consent. I believe abortion is wrong and I would not allow my child to have one. There are many people in this country wanting to adopt and I see that as the better option. Yes I am a Christian but this has more to do with my belief that no one has the right to treat my children for anything without my consent. I think parents should start taking legal action against the doctors that do perform abortion on girls (not women) under 18.

Drummer

First of all those of us who are pro-life should be referred to as that and not abortion foes. Those people who are promoting the Death Culture and abortion should be known as death promoters. As a mother and grandmother, I know that for a healthy family, parents must have the right to be involved in their children's lives. The family unit is the foundation of this country. It has been eroded because of the death promoters. The killing of babies is a business for the death promoters, who are just interested in making money, not the welfare of women or children under 18 years of age, and certainly not the babies who are the victims. Abortion has been promoted as a birth control method. The dangers of abortion are never talked about, ie both psychological and physical. Young women should be treated with dignity and counseled to understand the unintended consequences of going through this heinous procedure.

noliberal

Another example of the religious right trying to force their agenda on the rest of us. They cant get it through their bigited religious heads that the mjority of Americans want women to be control of their own bodies. The religious wing-nts want to control them instead.

Love's Life

For one thing when is a female under 18 a "women"?? She is not yet an adult thank you very much. My 17 year old son after cutting his finger at work could not be treated in the ER without consent. So tell me why should a twelve year old or 16 year old or yes, 17 year old be allowed an abortion without consent from their legal guardian? Talk about having an "agenda"!!! Sounds like all you care about is keeping your almighty abortion legal and not what is best for the safety of our children. (which is why we have laws that say our children need "permisson or consent" from their legal guardian)

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

So if your twelve year old daughter was raped and impregnated by 'uncle billy', you would force her to carry the child, give birth, and somehow raise the child (without Socialist government assistance) because God said so? That is messed up.

New Mexico Bill Would Send Rape Victims to Jail for Aborting 'Evidence'
-- http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/01/new-mexico-law-would-send-rape-victims-jail-aborting-evidence/61368/

Love's Life

Really??? Do you read the trash you spew? Absolutely nothing I said relates to your comment. I guess you couldn't come up with anything remotely intelligent to counter with.

montananurse

Why are Montana legislators messing with the abortion laws already in place in Montana? Are we having a huge run on 15 ½ year olds going to back alley abortion clinics in Harlowtown and Lima? I don’t understand why legislators aren’t working on the issues that concern most Montanan’s like the economy, commerce, the deficit, housing and education. How about putting some of that anti-abortion energy into making sure Montana kids go to bed fed and warm? How about putting some of that anti-abortion energy into shoring up our infrastructure? How about making sure every Montanan has health insurance?
Oh! I forgot……..the legislators are in Helena to push their individual agendas and that is where our tax money is going………

GaryTinkSanders
GaryTinkSanders

@montananurse, As a parent I am responsible for my child till they hit the age of 18 when they are considered a legal adult and are supposed to be capable of making their own decisions but until that point I am responsible for them period. They are working on parental rights, do you want the school nurse having more rights to your child than you do to let them have a life altering procedure that could potentially end in the death of your child but you must submit forms saying it is ok to take an aspirin? In the event there is a parental or family member rape law enforcement would need to be involved and i am sure all responsible parties would come to the proper decision.

momof5

I am a Montanan and a parent and this issue is of importance to me.

drew01
drew01

How does this change violate the Constitution? Nowhere in the article does it explain this.

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

"And they defended the proposed expansion from a legal note suggesting the bill may violate the constitutional right to privacy protections that courts in the past have said prohibit government intrusion into health care decisions."

Montana's Constitution has very strong privacy protections. Also, the age of consent for uh...'intimate relations' in MT is 16 YOA.

This is yet another example of the right-wing extremists pushing for more Big Government when it comes to restricting individual Liberty. The extremists only decry Big Government when it is used to protect citizens from the predatory banking cartels, making sure that our food is safe, preventing the environment from being raped, or providing any kind of social safety net for citizens.

walter12

Ask yourself this question. Why is it that there are three (sacraments) in the religion of the leftist in this country? The three are abortion, the homosexual agenda, and open borders with Mexico. Of course they have many others items are their wish list but those are the big three.
Yet, if you are not a follower of their religion, then you are the hypocrite, you are the stupid one, you are the evil one?

montanamuralist
montanamuralist

People were simply saying, WINGNUTS, and pay attention to this if it is possible in your feeble manipulative brains, people were saying they felt that parents should be notified, not to take that approval as an excuse to violate the Constitution, become Constitutional experts to fit your own agenda or to preach your moralistic hogwash and violate the relationship between a parent and a child. This from the folks who believe family values are important and we will require you to not only be notified parents, but read our version of what is right and wrong despite the rulings of the US Supreme Court. The founder of your faith would have two words for you..no three...HYPOCRITES, BLIND GUIDES!!!!

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