District Court Halts Controversial Law

A new state law in Montana outlaws a particular type of abortion typically performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but a district court has temporarily suspended this law.

On Thursday morning, Judge Mike Menahan sided with Planned Parenthood of Montana and temporarily blocked the implementation of HB 721. In his opinion, Menahan suggests the law may run afoul of the Montana Constitution.

On Tuesday, Governor Greg Gianforte of Montana signed House Bill 721 into law, making dismemberment abortions illegal in the state. However, this rule would be temporarily suspended in a genuine medical emergency. The new law also included prison penalties of five to ten years and fines of up to fifty thousand dollars.

Planned Parenthood (PP) of Montana filed a motion with the court on Tuesday, asking that the new law be temporarily enjoined. Attorneys for the state of Montana and the Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a motion asking the court to dismiss the petition.

Judge Mike Menahan of the District Court for Lewis and Clark County ruled that HB 721 presents a prima facie constitutional violation.

In a statement, the CEO and president of Planned Parenthood, Martha Fuller, of Montana, said PP is committed to challenging this in court.

Fuller said PP is happy that the court stepped in to grant relief, recognizing the harm that anti-abortion laws have when seeking primary health care.

She said politics has no place in the examination room, and they will not sit idly by as politicians take away access to abortion and personal freedom.

On Wednesday, Denise Harle, senior attorney for the American Defense Fund (ADF), said the lengths Planned Parenthood is willing to go to preserve a barbaric procedure makes clear that the industry of abortion only cares about money, not the protection of women.

In addition, the Montana Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) providing abortions last Friday.