Right to counsel

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Legislation, Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor

Mont. Code Ann. § 50-20-509 specifies that in proceedings for a minor to bypass parental consent for an abortion, " The youth court shall advise the minor of the right to assigned counsel and shall order the office of state public defender, provided for in 47-1-201, to assign counsel upon request."  See also Mont. Code Ann. §§ 47–1–104(4)(b)(iv). A public defender may be appointed for indigent litigants on appeal as well. Mont. Code Ann. § 47–1–104(4)(c).


Note that a Montana court found that the notification requirement in section 50–20–212(2)(a) violates the Montana Constitution's Equal Protection Clause and privacy protection. Wicklund v. State, No. ADV-97-671 1998 Mont. Dist. LEXIS 227 (Mont. 1st Jud. Dist. Ct. Feb. 13, 1998) . H.B. 627 created a new notification requirement that was virtually identical to the original, and it was approved by the voters via referendum (LR-120) in November 2012. Subsequently, the legislature repealed the notice provision and replaced it with the consent provision.  However, a district court in the First Judicial District found that Wicklund applies to the parental consent requirement, and so enjoined it. Planned Parenthood of Montana v. State of Montana, No. BDV-2013-407 (Mont. Dist. Ct. Jan. 31, 2014).

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes