Governor Bullock lets Montana abortion bill become law

2013-04-25T20:00:00Z 2014-02-04T19:12:17Z Governor Bullock lets Montana abortion bill become lawThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 25, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday allowed an abortion bill to become law without his signature, a strategic gamble that anticipates a successful legal challenge of the measure and kills an identical referendum that would have gone to voters in 2014.

House Bill 391 and its companion referendum, House Bill 521 would require girls younger than 18 to obtain parental consent before getting access to abortions.

Bullock and women’s health advocates said they believe the measure violates the privacy and protection rights of young women, and they’re confident the law will be struck down in courts.

Rep. Jerry Bennett, R-Libby, who sponsored the House Bill 391, said he anticipated the Democratic governor’s move and he is confident the law will hold up in court. The law makes sense and is consistent with other parental notification measures, he said.

“You can’t get a tattoo, can’t get your ears pierced, and you can’t play sports without parental consent,” Bennett said in a phone interview Thursday.

Reproductive health advocates argue that the measure puts minors in harm’s way. Requesting parental consent for an abortion is a problem for young women who are in abusive families, and victims of rape and incest need to be protected under the law, too, they said.

Sara Rossi, an advocate with Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence thinks this law ignores those Montanans.

“No one thinks about the minority in these situations, they think about the majority, which is healthy families who have open communication,” Rossi said.

The state Legislature passed a similar law in 1995 that was upheld in the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the Montana Supreme Court ruled in another case that the state constitution’s right-to-privacy provisions give females the right to decide whether to get a legal abortion, prompting the state Justice Department to abandon efforts to defend the parental-notice mandate.

Planned Parenthood has offered to lead the lawsuit to challenge the new law.

Bullock has been working with the Montana Reproductive Rights Coalition for weeks to develop the strategy that would kill two abortion measures with one stone, coalition officials said.

Abortion-rights groups said they are upset that Republicans used the referendum process in an attempt to skirt the executive office – and nullify a Bullock veto.

“As long as lawmakers are willing to pass unconstitutional bills, we need to take a look at every solution available to us in order to challenge the constitutionality of those bills,” Gail Gutsche Executive Director of NARAL Pro-choice Montana said.

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

(7) Comments

  1. 7d
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    7d - April 27, 2013 8:27 am
    Hitler must be the Democrats hero. The taking of innocent life.
  2. startingover
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    startingover - April 26, 2013 7:25 pm
    If they are under the age of 18 and live at home, the parent has every right to know what medical procedure their child is having done. You can't legally get a tattoo at 16, nor a piercing, without parental consent. In fact a hospital demands parental consent before treatment is rendered, unless it is life threatening. The law has nothing to do with men telling women what to do with their bodies, and far more to do with a parents right to know what medical care their child is receiving. Abortion, in my opinion, should not be used as birth control. Birth control is not hard to use, nor unavailable to anyone who seeks it. That is the best way not to become pregnant if you choose to be sexually active. That being said, it is none of my business if a woman chooses to have an abortion, whether I agree with it or not, it is not my decision. Provided it is done early, there is a point where it is no longer a cluster of cells, and is a viable human being. At that point it should have the same rights to live as the woman carrying it.
  3. LilyVonShtupp
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    LilyVonShtupp - April 26, 2013 9:11 am
    You would think so, startingover, but the system is so overburdened and underfunded (and don't forget that "austerity" has government agencies grinding to a halt all over the country) that they have to prioritize cases. Babies of drug addicts and children living in meth labs have become the norm. Also keep in mind that a young woman/teenager who is a victim of incest or rape won't always TELL someone, especially if they know that person is a mandatory reporter.
    But that's all really beside the point. Men need to stop telling women what they can and can't do with their own bodies. There was no reason to waste so much time and money with these bills when it's just an ideological fight between fundamentalist Christians and right-to-privacy advocates.
  4. RPT
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    RPT - April 26, 2013 8:01 am
    The church and government need to stay the HELL out of our bedrooms.
  5. walter12
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    walter12 - April 26, 2013 7:13 am
    Bullock is being a coward on this one. Either sign it or veto it. Man up Bullock.
  6. startingover
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    startingover - April 26, 2013 6:49 am
    In the article one of the arguments was,"Requesting parental consent for an abortion is a problem for young women who are in abusive families, and victims of rape and incest need to be protected under the law, too, they said.". Doesn't mandated reporting require that Child Protective Services be notified in such cases? Wouldn't they remove victims of abuse from their hostile environment?
  7. Veteran
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    Veteran - April 26, 2013 12:30 am
    All you Abortion-rights people, ever concider the right of the innocent child to life or its children? With all the health devises and medical advances to prevent pregnancy, that you people can advocate killing innocent babies in the name of womens rights and birth control. You people have not a clue to the ramifications of your warped immoral thinking. Your probly against the death penalty too. Fighting tooth and nail to keep from putting to death Murders ,,, like you.
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