Right to counsel

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Legislation, Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor (Pre-Dobbs)

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 Subsequently, the legislature repealed the notice provision and replaced it with the consent provision.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).






Note: Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision's in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, 142 S.Ct. 2228 (2022), the laws governing abortion are complicated and rapidly changing.  This major development may not be current since Dobbs.  For up-to-date information about the status of abortion by state, please see Center for Reproductive Rights, After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes