In 2012 we achieved a tremendous pro-life victory in the state of Montana when voters approved a parental notification ballot initiative by an overwhelming margin of 70 percent….
We expected that the very lopsided nature of our victory at the ballot box might have the effect of emboldening lawmakers in the state capital to pursue other pro-life and pro-family laws. I’m happy to report this is exactly what occurred.
In the 2013 legislative session, a bill was introduced (HB 391) that would strengthen the parental involvement law that took effect when voters approved LR-120. Whereas LR-120 required parental notification and applied only to nimors under age 16, House Bill 291 proposed to expand the protection of parental rights and teen health by requiring parental consent and applying this to all minors (i.e., under 18).
HB 391 passed both the House and the Senate by overwhelming margins. In April of this year, the bill was sent back to the desk of pro-abortion Governor Steve Bullock, who enjoyed the strong backing of Planned Parenthood when he ran for governor. We expected that Governor Bullock would veto the bill, and we were prepared to overcome that veto placing this issue on the 2014 ballot, once again, for voters to decide.
But it turned out that Governor Bullock was able to read election results as well as anyone else. He decided this was a battle he did not want to fight – at least at the ballot box. Governor Bullock allowed the bill to become law withot his signature – while condemning the bill as “unconstitutional” and welcoming a court challenge.
The court challenge was not long in coming. In May, Planned Parenthood of Montana filed suit to have the law thrown out. Fortunately, Montana has an elected attorney general who is independent of Governor Bullock. Attorney General Fox has pledged to vigorously defend the law in court, with the intent of protecting the will of the voters….
As you know, Alaska voters passed a parental notification measure in 2010. That law is still being challenged in court – but fortunately it has been allowed to stay in effect as the legal challenge has proceeded.
The first full year the law was in effect, 2011, Alaska experienced a 23 percent decline in abortions among minors, compared to the previous year In 2012, the second full year that the law was in effect, there was an additional decline of 22 percent in minor abortions over the previous year’s already lower rate.
To help fight the Montana parental consent lawsuit fight, click here
For updates on the lawsuit, click here.