In a new story for The Daily Yonder, writer Claire Carlson reports on the state of Montana’s restrictive new laws concerning reproductive health. Three new state bills ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation, ban medical abortions via telehealth or by mail prescription, and require medical providers to offer ultrasounds to all patients. All three laws are waiting for a state supreme court decision.

From the story: “The telehealth and mail-prescription bans could have the biggest direct impact on the state’s dispersed and remote rural populations, but all three laws work together to limit abortion services statewide, especially for underserved and rural populations, abortion rights advocates say.

“Each of these bills have their individual impacts, but together, they do what I call the ‘squeeze,’” said Martha Stahl, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of Montana. “They work together to make it a much more difficult process to access care early in pregnancy, which, for abortion patients, is something that people need in a timely manner.” 

Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed four abortion bills into law in April. The only one currently in effect prohibits health insurance plans that are covered by the state’s health insurance exchange from paying abortion expenses.”

Planned Parenthood of Montana is suing the state to rescind the new laws, saying they breach the constitutional privacy rights of state residents. Caught in the middle is the state’s rural population, located in areas where a drive to the local medical practitioner could take hours.

To read the rest of the story on the Yonder, click here.