A ballot measure in Montana to require parental notification before an abortion can be performed on a minor racked up a landslide win in last Tuesday’s election. Ballots are still being counted, but the measure is currently leading with 70.73 support among votes tallied thus far.
The ballot measure for parental notification was called Referendum 120.
Jeff Laszloffy, a former state legislator who now leads the Montana Family Foundation, told supporters after the campaign, “The passage of Referendum 120 reassures us that when we have a chance to go head to head against Planned Parenthood’s agenda, we can not only win – but win big.”
Laszloffy noted that Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have spent millions of dollars in campaigns against parental notice ballot measures in California and Alaska, and that pro-life advocates in Montana were prepared for an intense battle.
“Here in Montana, we took nothing for granted. The latest campaign disclosure reports show that we were right to be concerned. Opponents of Referendum 120 raised and spent more than $300,000 in their effort to defeat parental rights. Planned Parenthood led the opposition. But other groups joined the fray: the ACLU, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and the National Abortion Rights Action League.”
Michael Pauley, the strategic consultant for the Referendum 120 campaign, said that Planned Parenthood repeated the same arguments that they’ve used to oppose parental involvement laws in California, Alaska, and many other states. “Planned Parenthood called Referendum 120 ‘dangerous and unnecessary’ and said it would result in teens being abused when their parents found out they were pregnant and considering abortion,” said Pauley. “But voters are finally becoming wise to Planned Parenthood’s deceptive tactics. There are 37 states with laws requiring parental consent or notice before abortion, and many of these laws have been in effect for decades. Yet Planned Parenthood can’t point to a single case anywhere in the country where a teen has been harmed because of a parental involvement law.”
Pauley was also the strategic consultant for a successful campaign to pass a parental notice law in Alaska in 2010. In the first year the law was in effect, the number of teen abortions declined 23 percent. Pauley said this reality points to another reason for Planned Parenthood’s zealous opposition. “It’s been clearly established through statistical research that parental involvement laws result in fewer teen abortions. Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the U.S., so these laws are simply ‘bad for business’ from their point of view. Fewer abortions means less revenue for those people who make a living by performing them.”
With the passage of Referendum 120, there are only 12 states left in the country that either have no parental involvement law on the books, or their laws have been blocked by court action: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont.
Pauley noted that half of these states allow some form of voter initiative process, and that pro-life leaders in these states should consider whether this is a viable option for enacting a law. “Alaska and Montana, traditionally considered ‘red states,’ have proven that these laws can pass at the ballot box, by comfortable margins,” said Pauley. “But there’s plenty of evidence that these measures can win even in blue states. The last time parental notification was on the ballot in California, in 2008, the measure won 48 percent of the vote – despite the fact that Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups enjoyed an overwhelming 15 to 1 advantage in funding during the campaign.”