GREAT FALLS — Planned Parenthood of Montana CEO Martha Fuller said Friday the organization was again providing medication abortions to patients who come to Montana from other states, regardless of whether they traveled from a place where abortion is banned.
"Planned Parenthood is now doing medication abortion for patients who are from out of state, based on continued analysis of the legal landscape," Fuller said in an interview with MTN News on Friday, August 5, 2022.
In early June, Planned Parenthood of Montana announced it would not provide abortions to people from states that had banned the procedure.
President Joe Biden's Administration signed an executive order Wednesday protecting pregnant people who travel across state lines to receive reproductive care, an encouraging sign for Planned Parenthood, Fuller said.
Biden's order assists people traveling across state lines for abortions and measures the health outcomes of enforcing trigger bans, such as those in Montana's neighboring states of South Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota.
Abortion remains legal in Montana up to about 21 weeks.
In a follow-up statement after the interview with Fuller, Planned Parenthood said the organization was "committed to providing access to abortion care to people across our region."
"Medication abortion, as well as in-clinic abortion, is available to all patients," according to the statement. "No matter what, Planned Parenthood of Montana will do whatever we can to protect patients, providers, and health center staff. Access to abortion in Montana remains constitutionally protected and is available."
South Dakota was the first of Montana's neighbors to put a complete ban on abortion after the Dobbs decision. The state does allow exceptions in cases where the mother's life is at risk.
Courts in Wyoming and North Dakota placed preliminary injunctions on the trigger laws that were meant to outlaw abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned. Those court cases are ongoing.
Idaho's trigger law is on a 30-day countdown, with a trigger ban set to start August 25. If the law is implemented, abortions will become a felony offense in Idaho and punishable by between two to five years in prison. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit challenging the Idaho law.
All five states prohibit abortion in cases where the fetus can survive outside the womb.
Abortion providers will be subject to many changes in coming months, Fuller said. But she remains positive about the future of reproductive health in Montana.
Montana's two independent abortion providers, Blue Mountain Clinic and All Families Healthcare, never stopped providing medication and procedural abortions to people from out-of-state regardless of whether abortion was legal in the state from which they traveled.
Either clinic can have a telehealth visit with a patient who is in Montana and both clinics can overnight mail an abortion pill to the patient, if the pill’s destination is a Montana address. All while staying in compliance with Montana law, said Helen Weems in a July interview with MTN News. Weems is a nurse practitioner and founder of All Families Healthcare.
Neither Right to Life Montana nor Montana Prolife Coalition have yet responded to MTN News requests for comment.
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