Mont. Ballot Measure Could Have 'Dangerous Consequences' for Teens, Letter States

November 1, 2012 — A Montana ballot measure (LR 120) that would require parental notification before a minor can obtain an abortion "will endanger already vulnerable teens," Ryann Milne-Price, a reproductive health counselor in the state, writes in a letter to the editor of Missoulian.

"[N]early all minors seeking abortion care bring a parent or other adult with them to their appointment," Milne-Price writes, adding, "For these patients, LR 120 will simply add red tape to their medical visit."

However, for young women who cannot involve a parent because of violence or abuse, LR 120 "could have dangerous consequences, even with the judicial bypass exception," she continues, noting that a minor seeking a bypass must convince a judge that she should be able to make her own pregnancy decision.

"Forcing her to sit before a judge and answer intrusive questions about her situation adds an unnecessary and intimidating step to an already difficult situation," Milne-Price argues, adding that minors who cannot obtain a judicial bypass or are unaware of the option might "resort to unsafe abortion methods."

Ideally, "no 15-year-old should have to make a pregnancy decision, but let's not make it harder on the women who must, and who must do it without the support of a healthy family unit," she concludes (Milne-Price, Missoulian, 10/31).