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Planned Parenthood in Montana asks judge to block law that bans abortions past 15 weeks of pregnancy

Planned Parenthood of Montana on Tuesday asked a state judge to temporarily block a law that bans the abortion method most commonly used after 15 weeks of gestation, arguing it is unconstitutional.

The organization filed the complaint over the law to ban dilation and evacuation abortions just hours after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte’s office announced he had signed the bill.

The law “is the latest salvo in the Legislature’s ongoing assault on Montanans’ right to seek safe and lawful pre-viability abortions — a right guaranteed by the Montana Constitution,” the complaint states.

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planned parenthood

Planned Parenthood signage is displayed outside a health care clinic in Inglewood, California, on May 16, 2023. Planned Parenthood asked a state Montana judge to temporarily block a law banning abortions in the second trimester. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Planned Parenthood sought a preemptive ban on the law last month after the bill had been passed by the Legislature, but before it was signed by Gianforte. District Court Judge Kathy Seeley said she could not restrain a law that was not yet in effect.

The office of Attorney General Austin Knudsen filed a motion on May 8 asking the court to sanction the attorneys and the plaintiffs for seeking the temporary restraining order before the law was in effect.

Planned Parenthood said it filed the lawsuit before the bill was signed because it had an immediate effective date and implicated constitutionally protected medical procedures.

The Montana Supreme Court cited the Armstrong ruling last week in saying advanced practice registered nurses can continue to provide abortion care if they are properly trained.

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Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers did receive an order to temporarily block a state rule that required prior authorization before Medicaid paid for an abortion. Planned Parenthood obtained an order to block another law that called for a 24-week abortion ban and required an ultrasound before an abortion could be performed.

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