2020 Montana Code Annotated
Title 50. Health and Safety
Chapter 20. Abortion
Part 5. Parental Consent for Abortion Act
50-20-509. Procedure for judicial waiver of consent
50-20-509. Procedure for judicial waiver of consent. (1) The requirements and procedures under this section are available to minors whether or not they are residents of this state.
(2) A minor may petition the youth court for a waiver of the requirement for consent and may participate in the proceedings on the minor's own behalf. The petition must include a statement that the minor is pregnant and is not emancipated. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the minor. A guardian ad litem is required to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings. The youth court shall advise the minor of the right to assigned counsel and shall order the office of state public defender, provided for in 2-15-1029, to assign counsel upon request.
(3) Proceedings under this section are confidential and must ensure the anonymity of the minor. All proceedings under this section must be sealed. The minor may file the petition using a pseudonym or using the minor's initials. All documents related to the petition and the proceedings on the petition are confidential and are not available to the public. The proceedings on the petition must be given preference over other pending matters to the extent necessary to ensure that the court reaches a prompt decision. The court shall issue written findings of fact and conclusions of law and rule within 48 hours of the time that the petition is filed unless the time is extended at the request of the minor. If the court fails to rule within 48 hours and the time is not extended, the petition is granted and the requirement for consent is waived.
(4) If the court finds that the minor is competent to decide whether to have an abortion, the court shall issue an order authorizing the minor to consent to the performance or inducement of an abortion without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
(5) The court shall issue an order authorizing the minor to consent to an abortion without the consent of a parent or legal guardian if the court finds that:
(a) there is evidence of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse of the minor by one or both parents, a legal guardian, or a custodian; or
(b) the consent of a parent or legal guardian is not in the best interests of the minor.
(6) If the court does not make a finding specified in subsection (4) or (5), the court shall dismiss the petition.
(7) A court that conducts proceedings under this section shall issue written and specific findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting its decision and shall order that a confidential record of the evidence, findings, and conclusions be maintained.
(8) The supreme court may adopt rules providing an expedited confidential appeal by a minor if the youth court denies a petition. An order authorizing an abortion without the consent of a parent or legal guardian is not subject to appeal.
(9) Filing fees may not be required of a minor who petitions a court for a waiver of the requirement for consent or who appeals a denial of a petition.
History: En. Sec. 9, Ch. 307, L. 2013; amd. Sec. 34, Ch. 358, L. 2017.