Montana abortion restriction laws blocked by state judge

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A Montana state judge blocked three laws Thursday that restrict abortion pending a review of their constitutionality.

Judge Michael Moses, a Yellowstone district court judge, blocked the laws from going into effect at the last minute in response to an August lawsuit from Planned Parenthood, according to The Associated Press.

Planned Parenthood argued that the laws, which ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and limit abortifacient drugs, violate the Montana State Constitution.

The Montana state legislature passed the laws earlier this year before Montana’s Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed them into law.

The judge’s ruling comes amid rising tensions over abortion laws nationwide. In May, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law prohibiting abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy. That law was also blocked by a judge this week.

The Texas law offers citizens a private right of action against individuals who commit or aid and abet an abortion that violates the law, but it does not extend to the woman who has undergoes the procedure.

On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenges a Mississippi law that bans most abortions when “the probable gestational age of the unborn human” is more than 15 weeks. Detractors claim a ruling in favor of the law could undermine or even lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Carrie C. Severino, the president of the Judicial Crisis Network, told The New York Times, “There are going to be people losing their minds over this case, whichever direction it goes.”

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