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).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.