As a reproductive health counselor at Blue Mountain Family Practice, I am concerned that Legislative Referendum 120, the parental notification ballot measure, will endanger already vulnerable teens when it likely passes this fall.

At first glance, this ballot measure sounds reasonable; most parents want to be involved in their daughters’ pregnancy decisions. During pregnancy options counseling, I try to get a sense for each patient’s support network and encourage young women to seek out support from a trusted adult. Fortunately, nearly all minors seeking abortion care bring a parent or other adult with them to their appointment. For these patients, LR 120 will simply add red tape to their medical visit.

For young women who are unable to approach a parent due to violence or abuse, however, this ballot measure could have dangerous consequences, even with the judicial bypass exception.

I am often amazed at the obstacles women overcome to reach our clinic. They navigate abusive domestic situations, struggle to secure funding, and travel long distances all while working through the emotions surrounding their decision. To obtain judicial bypass, a minor must prove in court that she is “intelligent and mature” enough to make a decision about her pregnancy. Forcing her to sit before a judge and answer intrusive questions about her situation adds an unnecessary and intimidating step to an already difficult situation. Further, if a desperate young woman is unaware of or unable to obtain judicial bypass, she could resort to unsafe abortion methods if she thinks she must tell a parent before getting a safe abortion.

In an ideal world, no 15-year-old should have to make a pregnancy decision, but let’s not make it harder on the women who must, and who must do it without the support of a healthy family unit. Vote against LR 120.

Ryann Milne-Price, Missoula

More from missoulian.com

(5) comments

MTminded
MTminded

I encourage all voters to read Montana Referendum 120 (not just the wording that will appear on the ballot). The referendum mandates 48 hour “actual notice” before an abortion is performed but does not prevent an abortion from being performed. There is no language within the referendum that forbids a doctor from performing an abortion AFTER notification.

This referendum does nothing and is therefore unnecessary. It is a waste of legislative process that any Tea Party member, libertarian, or conservative republican worth his or her salt should be railing against with load voice.

It is likely, if passed, Montana Referendum 120 will see Montana’s female teens seeking their own solution to unintended/unwanted pregnancies. Abortion will not be reduced.

Vote AGAINST Montana Referendum 120.

sos.mt.gov/Elections/2012/BallotIssues/LR-120.pdf

Sukey
Sukey

Thank you so much for your very brave letter. I've seen it. I've seen young girls attack themselves with coat hangers like a coyote chewing his leg off to escape a trap. I've seen them rendered sterile, seen them with hideous infections causing blood clots which necessitated amputations to their limbs. I've seen them hide the pregnancy under bulky clothes because Mom's boyfriend raped them and they're afraid to say anything. Why do you think they give birth alone, like an animal, and throw the infant away? In a perfect world Love's Life cruel blog would be appropriate. This is not that world. Leave these young girls alone. Let them seek help from someone they trust, not from the father that raped them. Love's Life is not helping, she's torturing young girls who've been tortured enough.

brmoderate
brmoderate

@Love's Life - do you honestly think these people working at Planned Parenthood are in it to make money. Perhaps if you would work to prevent the abortions by funding and supporting sex ed in schools.... and making it easier to get birth control, we could do away with abortions. But no, all you folks want to do is yell about it. Stopping legal abortion is not going to end it, it's simply going to push it back into the alleys.

claudius
claudius

There is no such thing as an "unborn baby." That's just one of the many lies repeated endlessly by the people trying to use government to enforce their own narrow dogma on everyone else.

Love's Life
Love's Life

Cry me a river Ryann, so sorry some "Red Tape" might get in the way of you taking advantage of a young female. That almighty dollar you will potentially be making off of the killing of an unborn baby will just have to go through a parent first.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.