Montana Supreme Court rules non-physicians may commit abortions

abortions, abortionists, Montana,

The Montana State Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling, which means that some abortions can now be committed by midwives and nurses, in addition to doctors.

In a 4-3 decision late last month, the Montana State Supreme Court accepted that Jane Weems and an unnamed “Jane Doe” midwife had standing to bring suit. Previously in Montana, only physicians and physicians assistants had legal standing to commit abortions. But in 2018, Weems and Doe brought suit saying that limiting abortions to these qualified providers “violated a woman’s right to privacy and severely limited access to abortions in a geographically large and rural state.” The lower court found in favor of the nurses, and the case was appealed on grounds that the nurses did not have standing. This April decision upholds the lower court’s ruling.

Dissenting justices argued that the Montana State Board of Nursing has no provisions for advance practice nurses to commit abortions, and thus any nurse who provided abortions in the state of Montana would be acting outside of his or her defined area of practice. “The court lacks both the authority and the proper medical training and knowledge to make such a determination,” said dissenting justice Jim Rice.

READ: Planned Parenthood, ACLU fight to allow non-physicians to commit surgical abortions

The staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Hillary Schneller, disagreed. “There is simply no reason to prohibit qualified clinicians like our clients from providing abortion care,” said Schneller.

Over the past several years, pro-abortion groups have been systematically working against state laws that prohibit non-physicians from performing abortions. They currently have pending legislation in the state of Maine and Arizona.

Abortion is a potentially dangerous procedure that can result serious complication for women, in addition to the death of the preborn baby. Some of the complications (many accounts of which can be found here) include hemorrhaging, injury to the uterus, cervix, and/or surrounding organs, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, infection, and maternal death. Women do still die from legal abortions, according to the Centers for Disease Control.


Additionally, there can be unforeseen financial implications for women. If any of these complications should occur and the patient requires a hospital transfer, a nurse practitioner, midwife, or physician’s assistant would likely not have admitting privileges, which could mean financial burden on patients as well as a lack of continuity in care. In addition, obviously, none of these medical professionals have anywhere near the medical training of a licensed physician. If women are already hemorrhaging and suffering complications during abortions done by experienced, licensed abortionists, how many more will suffer as a result of these shortsighted laws that ignore women’s safety for the sake of lining the pockets of a corrupt abortion industry?

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