Montana Court Strikes Down Unconstitutional Abortion Laws, Ensuring Access to Reproductive Rights

HELENA, Montana – Three Montana laws that imposed restrictions on abortion rights have been ruled unconstitutional by District Court Judge Kurt Krueger. The laws, passed in 2021, included a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, a prohibition on doctors prescribing medication abortions through telehealth services, a 24-hour waiting period for medication abortions, and a requirement for doctors to offer an ultrasound before an abortion.

In his ruling, Judge Krueger stated that these regulations imposed significant burdens on abortion access without sufficient rationale or credible evidence. The laws had already been blocked by a preliminary injunction since October 2021 and now cannot be enforced.

The judge’s decision cited a 1999 Montana Supreme Court precedent that recognized the state’s constitutional right to privacy as protecting access to pre-viability abortions. This precedent was reaffirmed by the state’s high court in a ruling last spring.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s spokesperson announced that the state plans to appeal the ruling to the Montana Supreme Court. Knudsen is committed to protecting the health and safety of women and unborn babies. Meanwhile, Republicans in the state legislature are persisting in their efforts to restrict abortion access.

The ruling was hailed as a crucial victory by Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She emphasized that the fight for equitable abortion access in Montana and beyond will continue, highlighting Montana’s significance as an access point for those seeking abortion in the Rocky Mountain West.

Notably, Montana faces additional court challenges to more anti-abortion rights laws, including several from the 2023 legislative session. Currently, all anti-abortion rights restrictions, except for one requiring parental notification for patients 15 years old or younger, have been blocked by the courts pending the resolution of these lawsuits.