Kudos to Planned Parenthood of Montana for winning its suit against the state of Montana over its refusal to provide prescription contraception coverage for minors enrolled in Healthy Montana Kids (formerly the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP).
Of course, it seems like a no-brainer to us that Planned Parenthood would win.
In his decision, Montana District Court Judge James Reynolds described the state's conflicting positions that preventing teenage pregnancy is a compelling state interest but prohibiting prescription contraception coverage does not affect a compelling state interest as "illogical" and that they "seem to fail even the rational basis test."
Since it also violated the privacy rights of minors, Reynolds ruled the contraceptive exclusion unconstitutional.
Healthy Montana Kids, a cooperative federal-state program, provides healthcare coverage to uninsured minors who do not qualify for Medicaid. In 2009, state legislators reaffirmed that contraception coverage should be excluded from that program.
The result was that about 1,900 young women could receive prenatal, delivery and postnatal coverage, but not coverage to prevent pregnancy, severely violating their right to privacy concerning their own medical decisions and also creating increased health risks for these teens.
Planned Parenthood challenged the prohibition.
Reynolds says in his decision that "where the State chooses to intrude on the arena of reproductive options, it must do so neutrally... it is impermissible that HMK pays for the full panoply of prenatal, delivery and post-partum medical services for minors who choose to carry a pregnancy to term, while denying payment for the associated medical services for minors who choose to avoid pregnancy."
Also from Reynolds, a statement we could not agree with more: "Prevailing morality and political expediency are precisely what fundamental rights are to be protected from."
Exactly. Our rights are our rights no matter what. They are not subject to the tyranny of the majority.