Montana Court Blocks New Abortion Ban
For Immediate Release: May 18, 2023
HELENA, MT — Today, a Montana District Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the State from enforcing HB 721, a new law banning D&E procedures — the safest and most common method of abortion after approximately 15 weeks of pregnancy. The ruling came after a request for relief was filed on May 16 by Planned Parenthood of Montana (PPMT) and its Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Samuel Dickman. In today’s ruling, the Court found that the ban cannot be enforced because it likely violates the Montana Constitution. More than two decades ago, the Montana Supreme Court recognized in the Armstrong decision that the state constitution protects the right to abortion. A hearing on abortion providers’ request for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for May 23.
Statement from Martha Fuller, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Montana:
“Every day Montanans are waking up to new restrictions on their bodily autonomy, confused about what care they can and cannot access in their own communities. As the Legislature and Governor continue to enact unconstitutional laws, Planned Parenthood of Montana remains committed to challenging them in court. We’re glad the district court has once again recognized the grave harm these anti-abortion laws will have on people seeking basic health care and stepped in to grant this much-needed relief. Politics has no place in the exam room and we will not stand by as lawmakers race to take away access to abortion and strip us of our personal freedom.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“While this decision is a relief, we should never have had to go to court to allow Montana providers to be allowed to use their medical expertise to serve their patients. A person’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions. But cruel, out-of-touch politicians have turned their backs on their constituents. Planned Parenthood will never turn its back on patients in Montana and across the country who have a right to control their own bodies, lives, and future. We will not stop until this ban and the others we’re challenging are permanently blocked.”
HB 721 took immediate effect following the Governor’s signature on May 16. PPMT has also challenged HB 575, a new law that requires all patients in Montana to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion, and along with All Families Healthcare and Blue Mountain Clinic, a rule from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services that would have effectively eliminated abortion access for most Medicaid patients in Montana. Both restrictions are currently blocked by temporary restraining orders. A hearing on the abortion providers’ request for preliminary injunctions in these cases is also scheduled for May 23.
Planned Parenthood of Montana is represented by attorneys at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, WilmerHale, and the Graybill Law Firm.
Read more about the lawsuit here.
Planned Parenthood of Montana (PPMT) is a leading statewide organization that provides the full range of reproductive health care services, including birth control and abortion, life-saving cancer screenings, STI and HIV prevention, trans health care, testing and treatment for STIs, breast health services, Pap tests, sexual health education, and mental health counseling. PPMT’s mission is to lead by providing, promoting, and protecting sexual and reproductive health care and education for all Montanans.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care for all people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect, and without judgment, striving to create equitable access to health care. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable education and information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports the independently incorporated Planned Parenthood affiliates operating health centers across the U.S.