HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday allowed an abortion bill to become law without his signature, a strategic gamble that anticipates a successful legal challenge of the measure and kills an identical referendum that would have gone to voters in 2014.
House Bill 391 and its companion referendum, House Bill 521 would require girls younger than 18 to obtain parental consent before getting access to abortions.
Bullock and women's health advocates said they believe the measure violates the privacy and protection rights of young women, and they're confident the law will be struck down in courts.
Rep. Jerry Bennett, R-Libby, who sponsored the House Bill 391, said he anticipated the Democratic governor's move and he is confident the law will hold up in court. The law makes sense and is consistent with other parental notification measures, he said.