HELENA, Montana (LifeSiteNews) – A Montana judge will not lift a “temporary” injunction on an abortion parental consent law that has been in place for almost nine years despite an appeal by the state’s Republican attorney general to let the law finally take effect.
Passed in 2013, Montana’s Parental Consent Act requires a signed consent form from a parent or guardian before an abortion is committed on anyone below age 18. Planned Parenthood of Montana sued, and then-Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican, agreed to a preliminary injunction, expecting the case to be resolved in a timely fashion. Instead, the law remained tied up in court for the better part of a decade.
The Washington Times reported that on April 20, current Attorney General Austin Knudsen, also a Republican, filed a motion declaring that the law “must be allowed to take effect immediately. Not next week. Not on or after June 10, 2022. Today.”
“The State moves to dissolve the preliminary injunction in this case,” the motion argued. “It’s been 3,181 days since the consent injunction was entered. That’s eight years, eight-and-a-half months, or 104.5 months, or 34.8 trimesters since the State agreed to a preliminary injunction because it was confident the case would be decided quickly.”
Live Action added that Knudsen cited evidence that without the law in place, Planned Parenthood of Montana has allowed statutory rapes to go unreported.
“In one case involving a [redacted] pregnant mother and a 19-year-old father, a district court judge reported the matter to law enforcement based on his belief – after questioning PPMT [Planned Parenthood] – that PPMT would probably not report the abuse,” according to one of the documents.
On Thursday, however, Judge Chris Abbott ruled that the injunction would remain in place, pending a June hearing on a broader lawsuit involving both the consent law and a parental notification law enacted the year before.
“The court recognizes the legitimate frustration about how long it has taken to answer the question of whether these statutes are constitutional,” Abbott ruled. “For better or worse, however, the state agreed to the rules of the game when it started, and under the facts here, the passage of time alone is not enough to justify changing those rules as the ninth inning approaches.”
“The previous administration should not have consented — for even a day — to enjoin this common-sense law that protects young girls from sexual assault and abuse,” a spokesperson for the Montana Attorney General’s Office said Friday. “We’re glad that Judge Abbott will finally rule on the merits of the case in June after nearly a decade of inaction from numerous other Montana judges.”
While current U.S. Supreme Court precedent forces states to allow most abortions, based on a false assertion of a constitutional right to abortion, the Court has also consistently upheld various lesser abortion regulations in the name of both respect for fetal life and concern for women’s safety, including parental involvement laws.