We work to secure a world that respects everyone’s right to form intimate relationships and to decide whether and when to have children. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, we strive to ensure that our government respects and supports reproductive freedom for all. The ACLU of Montana, together with our allies in the Montana Reproductive Rights Coalition, advocate for reproductive freedom in three main areas:
- Ensuring access to safe abortion
- Ensuring access to contraception and reproductive health care
- Advocating for comprehensive sex education in our public schools
The ACLU of Montana works hard each Montana legislative session and during each election season to ensure that state lawmakers don't pass laws that restrict a woman's right to choose and that ballot measures to restrict reproductive freedom are unsuccessful. Recent examples include fetal personhood initiatives, bills to mandate unneccessary and intrusive tests to have an abortion and parental consent laws that severely undermine young women's right to have an abortion. Increasingly extremist lawmakers are chipping away at the edges of our right to choose. But we aren't stupid. We know the end goal is making abortion illegal. We will fight all these efforts. When public policy channels aren't enough, the ACLU of Montana will take legal action. As an example, our attorneys intervened on behalf of a woman in the Lewis and Clark County Jail who was being denied an abortion, and enabled her to get the medical care she had a right to get.
Contraception and Reproductive Health Care
Extremists aren't satisfied with only going after abortion, they are also determined to restrict women's access to contraception and the reproductive health care they need. Every sexually active individual should have safe, affordable access to the full range of contraceptive options. Of particular concern right now are local and state government officials who seek to turn away federal funding for women's health care in a misguided attempt to make a statement about abortion. The only result to such actions is that needy women are denied the health care they need. At the federal level, the ACLU opposes employers' attempts to deny their employees contraception coverage in their insurance policies.
Comprehensive Sex Education
During the 2013 Montana Legislative Session, the ACLU of Montana and its allies successfully fought off an attempt at requiring parental permission for students to attend sex education classes in our public schools. Parents already have the ability to "opt out" their children. Requiring a signed permission form would deprive many students of the information when their parents don't even oppose it. The ACLU and its allies have also been on the front lines supporting school districts' proposals for comprehensive sex education that is age-appropriate, accurate and includes information applicable to students of all sexual orientations. Such information is vital in preventing unwanted pregnancies and protecting the health of our young people.
Patients and Physicians Speak Out About Catholic Hospitals and the Threat to Women's Health and Lives
Thisshares firsthand accounts from patients who have been denied appropriate care at Catholic hospitals, from health care providers forbidden from providing critical care because of the Directives, and from physicians at secular hospitals who have treated very sick women after they were turned away from a Catholic facility.