Roe’s reversal moves Montana abortion debates to state courts


Montana elected officials reacted on Friday to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which had legalized abortion nationwide for nearly 50 years.

The majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, authored by Judge Samuel Alito and co-signed by the court’s five other conservative justices, said the court’s 1973 decision in Roe was “grossly flawed” and was “on a collision course with the Constitution of the day it was decided.Friday’s ruling found that “to perform an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right” and that individual states “may regulate abortion for legitimate reasons.”

Abortion will remain legal in Montana for the foreseeable future. State courts have considered abortion, like other protected medical choices, to be protected by Montana’s constitutional right to privacy since 1999.

U.S. senators from Montana, who split votes on whether to confirm the three conservative High Court justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, had separate responses to the ruling in the Dobbs case. Republican Senator Steve Daines said the ruling “rightly ends one of the most horrific abortion policies in the world” and “brings new hope to unborn children and their mothers across America.” “. Democratic Senator Jon Tester said the decision means “women and doctors will be put in jail” in some states and that “[n]o a judge or politician should tell women how to live their lives.

Without Roe’s protections in place, 13 states are set to completely ban abortion in the coming weeks, including Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota and South Dakota. Many coastal states, such as Washington, Oregon, California, Maine, New York, and New Jersey, have passed laws making abortion explicitly legal. Only a few central states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota and Illinois, have similar protective laws.

The ruling that declared abortion legal under the Montana Constitution, Armstrong v. State, faces active challenge through litigation over a series of abortion restrictions passed by the Montana Legislature. state last year. The list of laws was blocked from taking effect by a Billings District Court judge last fall. The state of Montana appealed that injunction to the state Supreme Court, with state attorneys explicitly asking for Armstrong’s reversal in their legal documents.

Republican officials in Montana echoed that call Friday as they responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling, noting that Roe v. Wade puts Montana’s abortion debates before the Montana judges.

“Today, we celebrate the landmark decision of the Supreme Court to correct a constitutionally incorrect ruling decades ago that harmed so many. As the abortion debate shifts to the states, all Montana’s eyes must be on our own judicial branch of government,” Montana Senate Speaker Mark Blasdel, R-Kalispell, and House Majority Leader Sue Vinton, R-Billings said in a statement. “Montana judges should rule based on the text of our state’s constitution, which does not mention abortion at all, and overturn Armstrong’s activist and misguided decision.”

Republican Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte shared that sense of celebration in his own statement, calling Roe’s end a “historic victory.” The governor stopped short of asking the Montana Supreme Court to overturn the Armstrong decision.

“With this monumental decision, the Supreme Court returned power to the American people and their elected representatives,” Gianforte said. “I am in discussion with legislative leaders on next steps as we work to protect life in Montana.”

Democrats-elect Montana took a very different tone on Friday, pointing to the ramifications of the court’s decision for Montana and other states.

“With this ruling, a total ban on abortion is on the table in a way we haven’t seen in decades,” said House Minority Leader Kim Abbott, D-Helena, and Senate Minority Leader Jill Cohenour, D-East Helena. “Now, our state’s constitutional right to privacy is the only thing standing between the people of Montana and the politicians who want to control the most intimate aspects of our private decision-making.”

Montana abortion providers brace for decision overturning Roe v. Wade since May, when a leaked draft opinion on Alito’s decision was published by Politico. In an emailed statement Friday, the political arm of Planned Parenthood of Montana reiterated that abortion remains legal in the state and will be available to patients nationwide in the coming weeks and months.

“While we are outraged and saddened by the decision, it is important for the people of Montana, and for people in neighboring states, to know that abortion remains legal here. Our constitution’s right to privacy State has long protected the right of Montana residents to make private medical decisions without interference from politicians,” said Martha Fuller, president of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Montana.

Fuller said her organization’s clinics remain committed to providing patients with abortion and other health care services, and “will continue to provide the high-quality, non-judgmental care that our patients depend on them for – it doesn’t matter who they love, where they live and how much money they make.

There are currently five operating abortion clinics in Montana: All Families Health Clinic in Whitefish, Blue Mountain Clinic in Missoula, and Planned Parenthood of Montana clinics in Great Falls, Helena, and Billings.

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