House backs parental consent for underage abortions

2013-02-26T22:00:00Z 2013-02-26T22:33:08Z House backs parental consent for underage abortionsThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 26, 2013 10:00 pm  • 

HELENA – The House on Tuesday endorsed a plan to require parental consent for underage abortions, rather than just the parental notification adopted by voters just last year.

House Bill 391 would require written parental consent before anyone younger than age 18 could get an abortion unless they were an emancipated minor or had a judicial waiver. It also would require both parent and teen to sign a notification form about the dangers of the procedure written by the abortion foes.

The measure was endorsed 59-41 mostly along partisan lines in the Republican-controlled chamber. It faces a final vote Wednesday in that chamber before going to the Senate.

Supporters said the proposal is a sequel to the ballot initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved in November. The initiative requires parental notification before a girl under the age of 16 can get an abortion.

Opponents, led by Democrats, argued most teens already include parents in such decisions. Those who don’t often come from bad homes, or suffered from rape or incest, they said.

“We don’t live in an ideal world,” said Rep. Virginia Court, D-Billings. “Let us choose to keep the doors open for these young women.”

The supporters argue the measure goes too far by requiring parental permission, instead of just the notification required in the ballot initiative, and could be considered an invasion of constitutional privacy rights.

Supporters of the measure have argued that strong public support for the notion of parental notification warrants a challenge to the past Montana Supreme Court decisions on related matters.

“Let’s just listen to the parents and pass this bill,” said Rep. Pat Ingraham, R-Thompson Falls.

Rep. David Halvorson stirred emotion after he began to describe the “absolute evil” of abortion. He and other opponents argued the measure is about child safety and making sure parents are involved in the decision.

The abortion foes, buoyed by the success of last year’s ballot measure, are putting forward measures opposed by abortion rights advocates.

One would create a new crime for causing the death of an unborn child, while others regulate local school sex-education policies and ban such groups as Planned Parenthood from being involved. As a backup plan, each bill has an identical referendum that could be put straight to voters should any of the measures be vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock – who has been cool toward the ideas.

On Tuesday, Bullock said the state should be “cautious” in creating new restrictions and rules in such areas.

GOP-led budget committees have stripped federal family planning funding, part of which goes to Planned Parenthood. The money pays for things like birth control, breast exams and screening for cervical cancer, and federal law prevents use of that money on abortions.

Abortion rights advocates took a dim view of the slate of bills moving through the Legislature.

“This may seem like a quieter war on women, but the attacks are happening nonetheless, and our Legislature is further marginalizing women and families who need health care and deserve privacy,” said Lindsey Love, communications manager for Planned Parenthood of Montana.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. JacksonB
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    JacksonB - February 27, 2013 10:22 am
    There is a provision in this law as there was in the vote in Nov. to get a judicial review if there is an accusation of family rape or incest. If the person under 18 is also legally emancipated, there will be no parental consent required. There is a host of things that require parental consent for those under 18, there is no reason that this should not require consent.
  2. montanamuralist
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    montanamuralist - February 27, 2013 7:23 am
    I am not opposed to parental consent but do understand, unlike some of my friends on the right wing here, that there are more cases of incest and broken families than people realize in these cases. I am still opposed to men telling women what to do with their bodies. I agree with Walter abortion is huge and the ramifications from that act can follow a person their whole lives and am opposed to it personally. But I am a man and will not tell a woman what to do with her own body. I do think we should require parental notification and approval but I also think some provision should be made for cases in which the family is dysfunctional, their is a suspicion of incest or some other mitigating factor.
  3. walter12
    Report Abuse
    walter12 - February 27, 2013 6:33 am
    A teenager must have parental consent in writing in order to get an aspirin from the school nurse, she does not have to have parental consent to obtain an abortion which could follow her the rest of her life, spiritually, emotionally, socially, and possibly physically. This is completely insane in this country today. The leftists have produced a climate today of complete madness.
  4. mike1
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    mike1 - February 26, 2013 10:25 pm
    It seems to me like good policy to have parental consent forms signed. One needs to have some procedure to provide an advocate to the teenage mother to protect her in case the parents have something to do with the pregnancy in the first place (like incest).
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