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Montanans react to judge ruling Montana abortion laws unconstitutional

The case was brought forward by Montana Planned Parenthood after the restrictive laws passed in 2021.
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Posted at 9:10 AM, Mar 04, 2024

After a years-long case, a state district court judge has deemed that three laws passed in 2021, meant to tighten restrictions on abortion, are unconstitutional.

"So I would say this is a big win for families and women. For Montana families who want to decide how and when to start a family, to grow their family. And it’s a big win for women’s health," says Montana Senate District 30 candidate, Cora Neumann.

She says the laws violated privacy, a core value in Montana’s constitution.

"Montana. People call it a conservative state, but it’s more of a libertarian state. Montanans really like their freedom and their privacy. They like to live and let live. And so the constitution that we have in this state is based on those freedoms and that ability to have privacy," says Neumann.

The three laws would have banned abortions after 20 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger, further restricted medication-assisted abortion by requiring in-person visits to providers, and would require providers to offer patients an ultrasound and listen to the fetus’s heartbeat.

After the decision on Thursday, a spokesperson for Governor Gianforte issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately, the activist court put its desired political outcomes ahead of the law and common sense by throwing out these three reasonable, popular measures that Montanans’ duly elected representatives overwhelmingly supported.”

Despite opposition, Judge Kurt Krueger wrote in his decision:

“Under the guise of concern for the patient, they invade the private ‘treatment room,’ imposing severe burdens on both without clear justification supported by credible evidence”.

Candidate Neumann also stresses the importance of telemedicine for rural communities, something these laws would have restricted for abortion care. She also mentions the importance of supporting, rather than punishing, medical providers—in a state that is already struggling with coverage deserts.

"I’m really hoping that not only women and families’ rights and health can be taken into account, but also the healthcare workers that we desperately need to take care of us," she says.

For more information on these house bills and the ruling, read here.