November 7, 2012 — Montana voters on Tuesday approved a ballot measure (LR 120) that will require parental notification before a minor younger than 16 can obtain an abortion, the AP/Billings Gazette reports. The measure received nearly 70% of the vote, according to the AP/Gazette (AP/Billings Gazette, 11/7).
The initiative permits exceptions for abortions without parental notification in cases of medical emergencies (Cates, Great Falls Tribune, 11/6). Additionally, minors who cannot involve a parent or guardian in their abortion decision could petition a Youth Court for a waiver (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/15).
Physicians convicted of violating the law could face a six-month prison sentence and a $500 fine.
Supporters of the law say that parents should be involved with the decision to get an abortion, while opponents note that all Montanans have a right to make private medical decisions (AP/Billings Gazette, 11/7). Opponents also have said that mandatory notification could put minors who are abused at additional risk (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/10).