State Announces Controversial Ban

On Tuesday, just hours after Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed into law the state’s new ban on dismemberment abortions that also restricts abortion to the first 15 weeks, Planned Parenthood of Montana filed an emergency injunction to have the law temporarily blocked, arguing that it is unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.

In its complaint, Planned Parenthood argued that the law violates the right to privacy outlined in the Montana Constitution.

In 1999, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the state’s constitutional right to privacy protects the right to a pre-viable abortion.

Under Montana’s new law which went into effect immediately, performing dismemberment abortion (a dilation and evacuation abortion) is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $50,000 and 5 to 10 years in prison.

While the new law restricts “dismemberment” abortions, it still permits abortions in the first 15 weeks of pregnancy through drugs that induce labor and delivery so long as the procedures are performed in a hospital.

Montana’s 15-week abortion restriction does allow for exceptions for medical emergencies.

Governor Gianforte said in a written statement he was proud to cap off the legislative session by signing “pro-life and pro-family” legislation protecting the lives of the unborn in the state.

In a statement on Tuesday, Planned Parenthood of Montana president Martha Fuller called the 15-week abortion law “a grave threat” to the health and safety of Montanans that “must be blocked.”

Last month, Planned Parenthood sought to stop the bill from being signed by Governor Gianforte after it first passed the state House. However, a federal judge refused, saying she could not block a bill that hasn’t been signed into law.

The governor also vetoed a House bill that would have revised parental consent laws for minors under 16 seeking an abortion. In his veto, Gianforte said the bill would have weakened parental rights while increasing consultation from doctors.

A hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for May 23.