Mont. Referendum Follows Failed Attempts at Enacting Parental Involvement Legislation

October 15, 2012 — A Montana ballot measure (LR 120) that would require parental notification before minors can obtain abortion care comes after multiple failed attempts to enact the requirement by other means, The Missoulian reports.

After Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) vetoed a parental involvement bill last year, the state Legislature voted to put the issue to a referendum.

If approved, the ballot measure would require doctors to notify parents or guardians at least 48 hours before providing abortion services to minors younger than age 16. Minors who cannot involve a parent or guardian in their abortion decision could petition a Youth Court for a waiver.

In the 2011-2012 fiscal year, of the 22 minors that sought abortion services at Planned Parenthood clinics in Montana, 21 of them involved their parents, according to Planned Parenthood of Montana spokesperson Stacey Anderson.

"What's at stake is for a couple of girls every year to be placed in harm's way by a government policy that Montanans don't need because parents are already doing a great job," Anderson said.

Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, said, "The other side is trying hard to frame this as an abortion issue." He added, "From our perspective, this is a case where the government has placed itself squarely between parents and children, and prevented parents from protecting their children" (Florio, The Missoulian, 10/12).