The reproductive rights community will see a dangerous parental notification referendum on the 2012 ballot and will be faced with an extreme over reaching "personhood" ballot initiative.
LR 120: Parental Notification
LR 120 will be on the November Ballot this electoral year. It is a dangerous referendum that would require young women under the age of 16 to notify their parent or seek permission from a judge if they wish to seek abortion services.
It is the organization's long held belief that responsible parents should be involved when their young daughters face a crisis pregnancy. Indeed, every parent hopes that a daughter confronting a crisis pregnancy will seek the advice and counsel of those who care for her most and know her best. And even in the absence of laws mandating parental involvement, most young women do turn to their parents.
Yet, some young women cannot involve their parents because they come from homes where physical violence or emotional abuse are prevalent or because their pregnancies are the result of incest. Put simply, the government cannot mandate healthy family communication where it does not already exist, and there is no law that can account for every situation that a young woman in crisis may face.
In our state, this type of law has already been delcared unconstitutional. In 1999, a Montana court found that Montana's parental notification law violated two different sections of the Montana Constitution. LR 120 would reenact that invalid law and would not fix the serious constitutional violations of the law--which violates the equal protection clause of the Montana Constitution by infringing, without adequate justification, on a young woman's right to privacy--that led to the court striking down the entire law.
Anti-choice activists failed to gather enough signature to qualify a "personhood” amendment for the 2012 ballot.
This dangerous measure would have establish legal rights starting at fertilization with the intent of banning legal abortion in our state and threatening stem-cell research, in-vitro fertilization, and birth control.
This proposed ballot initiative mirrors HB 490, a bill sponsored by Wendy Warburton (R-Havre) this past legislative session, which could not even make it out of a legislature packed with anti-choice law-makers because of its extreme and over-reaching nature.
In both 2008 and 2010, anti-choice extremists also failed to qualify for the ballot similar amendments. In 2008 they fell over 22,000 signatures short of the requirement and only qualified in 16 of the required 40 legislative districts; and in 2010 they fell nearly 13,000 signatures short of the requirement and only qualified in 23 of the required 40 house districts in their effort to get a total abortion ban on the ballot. In addition, similar amendments were introduced during the 2007, 2009, and 2011 Legislative Sessions and failed by bi-partisan opposition. For the past six legislative sessions, anti-choice groups have been unsuccessful in passing anti-choice measures that restrict reproductive rights and access to health care.
CI-100: What happened in 2008?
CI-102: What Happened in 2010?