Montana Abortion Laws

The issue of abortion in the U.S. has historically been highly controversial with passionate advocates on both sides of the spectrum. Federal law protects a woman's right to choose an abortion since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Some states have limited access to abortion through legislation and other means, as pressure from both sides of the debate have made abortion a highly volatile area of law.

Montana Abortion Laws

In Montana, there are a number of restrictions imposed upon abortion. Below, you'll find a few of these restrictions.

Parental Notification Law

Montana has a law on the books that “prohibits a physician from performing an abortion on a minor under 16 years of age unless a physician notifies a parent or legal guardian of the minor at least 48 hours prior to the procedure."

Under this law, notice is not required if:

  1. There is a medical emergency;
  2. It is waived by a youth court in a sealed proceeding; or
  3. It is waived by the parent or guardian.

In 2013, the state amended the law to require notarized parental consent and proof of identification. Both laws face legal challenges in the courts today .

Waiting Period

Similarly, the law requiring a waiting period before a woman can get a legal abortion is being challenged in the Montana court system.

Montana Viability Law

Montana bans partial-birth abortions after a fetus has become "viable."

Other Montana Laws Pertaining to Abortion and Unborn Fetuses

  • Montana permits the prosecution of a third party who intentionally kills an unborn child who has reached at least 8-weeks development.
  • A person commits an offense if he “purposefully, knowingly, or negligently causes the death of a premature infant born alive, if such infant is viable.”
  • The state allows a wrongful death action when a viable unborn child is killed through negligent or criminal act.
  • The state has created a specific affirmative duty of physicians to provide medical care and treatment to infants born alive at any stage of development.
  • Montana has a safe haven law, establishing a safe haven for mothers to legally leave their infants at designated places and ensuring the infants receive appropriate care and protection.

The basic provisions of Montana's abortion laws are listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Reproductive Rights section for additional articles and resources.

Code Section 50-20-101 to 112; 50-20-401; 50-20-201 et seq.
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion

Use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or other substance or device to intentionally terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant, with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child, or to remove a dead fetus.

Partial Birth Abortion: Unlawful except to save the life of mother when endangered by physical disorder, illness, or injury when no other medical procedure would save the woman's life.

Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion

After viability, if necessary according to M.D. to preserve life or health of mother; procedure utilized must not negligently or intentionally endanger life of fetus unless to preserve mother's life.

Penalty for Unlawful Abortion

Violation of infant protection; violation of abortion practices by M.D.: felony, fine to $1,000 and/or imprisonment to five (5) years; violation of consent provisions or of inducing woman to have abortion: misdemeanor, fine to $500 and/or imprisonment to 6 months; no penalties may be placed on the mother; illegal partial birth abortion: felony with fine up to $50,000 and/or 5-10 yrs. in prison and permanent revocation of physician's license.

Consent Requirements

Current legal challenge to the law. Law placed on hold.

Residency Requirements for Patients N/A

Note: Montana abortion laws are constantly changing--contact a Montana constitutional law attorney , or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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