Planned Parenthood Warns Against Mont. Parental Notification Ballot Measure

October 10, 2012 — Planned Parenthood of Montana is pushing back against a state ballot initiative (LR 120) that would require parental notification at least 48 hours before minors ages 16 and younger can obtain abortion care, NBC Montana reports. If passed, the measure would take effect on Jan. 1.

The proposal would allow exceptions for medical emergencies (Wadley, NBC Montana, 10/8). In addition, parents or guardians could waive the requirements or a youth court could do so in sealed proceedings (Cates, Great Falls Tribune, 10/5). Physicians found in violation of the law would face criminal charges (NBC Montana, 10/8).

Stacey Anderson, public affairs director for PPM, said that parental consent was given for 95% of abortions among minors ages 16 and under in 2011. The remaining 5% constituted one procedure in a case that involved familial abuse and neglect, she said (Great Falls Tribune, 10/5).

"[T]here's a couple of teens every year where this would really put them in harm's way," she said, noting that LR 120 would require abortion providers "to talk to the parent first, before we talk to the teen and possibly involve law enforcement" (NBC Montana, 10/8).

Supporters of the measure say it is about safety. Moe Woesepka, director of the Montana Catholic Conference, said there is no other medical procedure that can be performed on minors without parental consent (Great Falls Tribune, 10/5).

Anderson anticipates a lawsuit if the referendum passes in November (NBC Montana, 10/8).