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Planned Parenthood of Montana v. State of Montana

Description:  Planned Parenthood has asked a court block several state laws that protect women considering abortion. The abortion giant is seeking to halt enforcement of the laws even though previous court rulings demonstrate that the laws are presumed constitutional.


Flag of Montana
Thursday, Jan 20, 2022

HELENA, Mont. – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and co-counsel Alliance Defending Freedom Wednesday filed a brief asking the Montana Supreme Court to deny Planned Parenthood’s request to block enforcement of commonsense laws that protect the health and safety of women considering abortion. A lower court previously halted enforcement of the new laws passed during the 2021 legislative session.

“Women in Montana deserve protections for their health and safety, and full information about any medical procedure. This is no less true for a woman who seeks out an abortion,” said ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “Tragically, many women turn to abortion as a last resort, unaware of the abundance of resources available to them and uninformed of the complications that can occur. Abortionists are the only beneficiary when commonsense state laws to empower women are repealed. We are hopeful the Montana Supreme Court will uphold these vital protections for women and unborn babies.”

The state of Montana has long maintained health-and-safety regulations to help minimize the medical risks to mothers and ensure that pregnant women are fully informed about the risks and consequences before they undergo an abortion.

Last year, the state legislature adjusted these protections to guarantee that women are not prescribed dangerous chemical abortion drugs without first being physically examined by a physician, do not undergo risky late-term abortions in the sixth month of pregnancy or beyond, and are offered an opportunity to see and hear an ultrasound of the child in their own womb.

As the opening brief states, “Offering an expectant mother considering abortion an opportunity to view an ultrasound or hear the fetal heartbeat, both of which she is free to decline, nevertheless empowers her to more fully understand the procedure she is choosing to undergo. A woman has a right to know what is happening inside her and to make an informed decision about whether to obtain an abortion.”

The laws at issue in Planned Parenthood of Montana v. State of Montana carried bill numbers HB 136, HB 171, HB 140, and HB 229. In 2020, Planned Parenthood dropped a similar case in Arizona that challenged several laws protecting the health and safety of women in that state.

  • Pronunciation guide: Harle (HAR’-lee)


Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Denise Harle

Denise Harle serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is the director of the Center for Life. Prior to joining ADF, Harle served as deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Florida Attorney General, where she drafted appellate briefs and presented oral arguments on behalf of the state in a wide variety of constitutional cases, including defending the constitutionality of pro-life laws. In 2017, she participated in the prestigious Supreme Court Fellow program, sponsored by the National Association of Attorneys General. She clerked for Justice Ricky L. Polston on the Florida Supreme Court and worked for several years as an appellate litigator at a large firm in California. Harle earned bachelor’s degrees, summa cum laude, in psychology and interdisciplinary social science from Florida State University, a master’s degree in political science from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law. At Duke, she served as the executive editor of Law & Contemporary Problems. A member of the state bars of California, Florida, and Georgia, she is admitted to multiple federal district and appellate courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.