One of the few anti-choice ballot measures to pass a full state vote in the 2012 election was a proposal to have all girls 15 and younger notify a parent prior to obtaining an abortion. Now, just a few short months later, the state legislature has decided that is not good enough. A new bill has been proposed that will force any minor girl under age 18 talk to get permission from a parent or guardian before she can access safe abortion care.
The Montana House has voted 59 to 41 to switch from notification to consent, and to raise the age of the teens who required to get it.
The Montana Supreme Court already acknowledges a right to privacy that extends even to a minor’s decision regarding pregnancy and abortion, and anti-choice advocates proposed their “under 16, parental notification” initiative specifically as a means to try to avoid any constitutional issues with a new law. Now, they are using the 2012 law as a justification for support for passing the full parental notification ban they originally sought but for which they knew they couldn’t get public support, especially with the courts already declaring a 1995 version unconstitutional. The Associated Press writes that, “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,” with one Representative urging legislators to ignore the constitutional problems and “‘just listen to the parents and pass this bill.’”
The House will need to vote on it one more time before it heads to the Senate for a vote as well.