ACLU Wants Montana to Allow Nurse Practitioners, Midwives to Perform Abortions

HELENA, Mont. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana (ACLU) and the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights have filed a lawsuit to challenge a Montana law that prohibits advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) from providing abortions.

“In a state as large and sparsely populated as Montana, it’s common sense to expand access to safe abortion care by allowing APRNs to provide this much-needed healthcare service,” the ACLU claimed in a statement on Tuesday.

The two organizations represent a certified nurse practitioner and a certified nurse midwife who wish to provide abortions in the state but are prohibited from doing so, as in Montana, only physicians and physician assistants may end the lives of unborn children.

“Like other APRNs in Montana, Ms. Weems and Ms. Doe are authorized to independently provide a range of health services and have broad prescriptive authority. Ms. Weems and Ms. Doe also have experience in providing health services comparable to—and riskier than—medication and aspiration abortion,” the legal challenge states.

It postulates that allowing APRNs to perform abortions will create easier access to the procedure as there are four abortion facilities in the state.

“With few clinics in the state, Montanans may be forced to travel hundreds of miles and many hours to their nearest abortion provider,” the abortion advocacy groups argue. “Enabling APRNs to provide abortions would reduce the considerable burdens Montanans endure to obtain an abortion.”

“With additional abortion providers, including Plaintiffs, and therefore more consistent access across the state, some pregnant people seeking abortion services would not travel as far to their nearest abortion provider,” they state. “Additionally, for some, the cost of transportation would decrease, and the need to stay overnight and pay for lodging would diminish. Shorter travel distances would mean having to spend as less time out of work or school, and/or fewer hours of child care to access abortion.”

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The groups are seeking a declaration that the law prohibiting APRNs from performing abortions is unconstitutional, as well as an injunction against its enforcement.

Read the lawsuit in full here.

As previously reported, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a similar lawsuit last September in an effort to challenge a Maine law that likewise only permits physicians to perform abortions.

“As a result of the lengthy travel distances the Physician-Only law imposes, some women are simply unable to obtain an abortion and are instead forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will,” the suit asserted.

Pro-life groups in the state opposed the effort, noting that mothers should not be provided with additional avenues to kill their children.

“We are against violence inside and outside the womb,” Teresa McCann-Tumidajski, executive director of Maine Right to Life, told the Portland Press-Herald. “We don’t want to open up new avenues of access to abortion.”

Christians have long decried abortion in America as being the savage murder of innocent children. Even in 1872, preacher Thomas De Witt Talmage wrote in his book “The Abominations of Modern Society:”

“Herod’s massacre of the innocents was as nothing compared to that of millions and millions by what I shall call ante-natal murders. You may escape the grip of the law, because the existence of such life was not known by society, but I tell you that at last God will shove down on you the avalanche of His indignation, and though you may not have wielded knife or pistol in your deeds of darkness, yet, in the day when John Wilkes Booth and Antony Probst come to judgment, you will have on your brow the brand of murderer.”

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  • Nidalap

    How small a step will it be from “allowing” them to do it, to firing them for refusing to do it?

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

      That’s always the next step.

  • Tangent002 ✓

    It seems obvious that someone capable of delivering a baby is capable of administering and monitoring a medication. As for the aspiration abortion aspect, I don’t know enough about the procedure.

  • it’s common sense to expand access to safe abortion …. the ACLU has lost its mine!

    • Denny

      Once the conscience is gone, the mind usually follows.

  • vicnicholls

    I’m wondering if they are referring to using mifepristone and misoprostol? That would make sense because they are drugs and can be warned of side effects. Chemical abortion, not a surgical one. It is safe enough that they could get away with convincing a judge on it. It also would break the ability of pro lifers to protest/demonstrate at abortion providers. It has been one of the issues that pro lifers feared: a chemical/medical abortion can be done in the privacy of ones’ home.

    I suspect that they will win on this one. One, misoprostol is something they can already prescribe in its other use. It would be an “off label” use maybe? Two I think methotrexate, the other drug, could be in the same category.

    What I find totally odd is that mifepristone didn’t get snuck in here and isn’t used for endometriosis. A lot of work in the 80’s showed that taking mifepristone would curb surgeries as being the treatment for endometriosis, an issue affecting up to 10% of the female population in America. That would give an off label use that would be able to “cover” any one taking one or both drugs for off label uses.

    Interesting. Not surprising, but interesting that it took this long.