Montana Supreme Court upholds injunction against pro-life laws

In April 2021, Governor Greg Gianforte of Montana sign three major pro-life bills: one that ensures a pregnant woman has the ability to see an ultrasound and hear her baby’s heartbeat before an abortion, one that bans abortions after 20 weeks, and one that requires an in-person visit from the woman signing informed consent before receiving the abortion pill (essentially prohibiting telemedicine prescriptions for the abortion pill).

Family planning almost immediately for follow-up to block the bills, and they have been the subject of litigation ever since.

On Tuesday, August 9, the Montana Supreme Court confirmed a lower court’s order temporarily blocking the three laws. “The judges noted that the Montana Constitution recognizes an individual’s right to privacy, adding that the new legislation appears to violate the state Constitution,” according at NBC Montana.

LILY: The right to privacy does not include the right to kill other human beings

“[L]Laws interfering with reproductive and bodily autonomy are scrutinized with a rigorous standard of scrutiny due to the Montana Constitution’s express recognition of a right to individual privacy. Given that this is the current state of the law in Montana, the District Court correctly concluded, based on the evidence before it, that the three impugned statutes appeared, on their face, violate the Montana Constitution and that abortion service providers and their patients would suffer great or irreparable harm if the laws were not enforced,” the Montana Supreme Court wrote.

But the right to privacy does not include the right to kill, as the United States Supreme Court recently held in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

In light of the reversal of Roe vs. WadeAttorney General Austin Knudsen has asked the Montana Supreme Court to overturn the decision that recognized the right to abortion in the state constitution.

However, Judge Beth Baker said in the 5-0 decision: “The court recognizes the potential implications of the Dobbs decision and the desire to provide the full opportunity to be heard. But, for reasons explained in the notice … the appeal of this preliminary injunction is not the time to present and consider these arguments.

Martha Stahl, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Montana, said after the court’s decision, “We are pleased that the Montana Supreme Court decided today to uphold the preliminary injunction put in place by the district court in the fall. This is a victory for our right to make personal medical decisions, free from government interference.

The case will now return to the district court for a full trial.

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