Attorney General Knudsen asks court for immediate appeal in case to protect minors

Attorney General Knudsen asks court for immediate appeal in case to protect minors

HELENA – Attorney General Austin Knudsen requested Tuesday that the Montana First Judicial District Court certify an immediate appeal of Judge Christopher Abbott’s order permanently enjoining the Parental Consent for Abortion Act of 2013 in the Planned Parenthood v. State of Montana case in Lewis and Clark County.

Last month, Judge Abbott issued an order enjoining Montana’s parental consent law, but also recognizing the State’s compelling interest in protecting minors from sexual assault and the long-term mental and physical trauma that can result from abortions.

“This Court recognized the validity of the State’s compelling interests, disagreeing only on whether the law was sufficiently tailored,” the brief states. “The Court’s Order should be certified for immediate appeal so that the State may seek to vindicate its interest in protecting children at the earliest possible opportunity.”

The Parental Notification of Abortion Act, which was approved by more than 70 percent of voters via LR-120 in 2012, makes it illegal to coerce a minor into having an abortion and requires that a medical professional performing an abortion for a pregnant minor must notify at least one parent or legal guardian of the pregnant minor at least 48 hours in advance.

Following the overwhelming voter approval of LR-120, the legislature passed – and Governor Steve Bullock allowed to go into effect – House Bill 391 in 2013, which would have replaced the parental notification requirement with parental consent for a minor to undergo an abortion.

“The Consent Act was passed a decade ago and the State needs resolution, which as this Court acknowledges will come only through appeal, to know whether it can finally enforce laws necessary to protect vulnerable Montanans,” the brief states.

To read the full brief, click here.

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