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Judge rules state can't defend new abortion law

By The Associated Press
Published On: Feb 04 2014 10:23:14 PM MST
HELENA, Mont. -

A Helena judge says the attorney general's office can't defend a state law requiring girls under 18 to receive their parents' permission before seeking an abortion because the matter was ruled unconstitutional 15 years ago.

The Legislature passed the bill in 2013 and Planned Parenthood of Montana sued to have it ruled unconstitutional.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock said in Friday's ruling the issue already has been decided. In 1999, Judge Dorothy McCarter ruled that requiring minors to notify their parents before an abortion violated their constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection.

Sherlock says the Montana Supreme Court has ruled against reopening an identical issue already decided upon if it involves the same parties and they already had a full and fair opportunity to present their case to a judge.