Case: Armstrong v. State

BDV 97-627 | Montana state trial court

Filed Date: Dec. 28, 1997

Case Ongoing

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Case Summary

In the Fall of 1997, the Center of Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit to challenge a Montana state law that restricted the performance of abortions to licensed physicians. This was brought in Montana state court after a failed attempt to block the law in federal court in Armstrong v. Mazurek. Here, Plaintiffs argued that the law violated the Montana Constitution’s provisions regarding privacy, due process, and equal protection of the laws.  Judge Jeffrey Sherlock granted the injunction in dist…

In the Fall of 1997, the Center of Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit to challenge a Montana state law that restricted the performance of abortions to licensed physicians. This was brought in Montana state court after a failed attempt to block the law in federal court in Armstrong v. Mazurek. Here, Plaintiffs argued that the law violated the Montana Constitution’s provisions regarding privacy, due process, and equal protection of the laws. 

Judge Jeffrey Sherlock granted the injunction in district court (BDV 97-627) on November 26, 1997, and prohibited the law from being enforced, to which Defendants appealed on December 28, 1997. 

On October 26, 1999, the Montana Supreme Court affirmed the injunction barring enforcement of the statute against Plaintiffs. The Court held that Montana's state constitutional right to privacy protected a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion and her right to obtain an abortion from a health care provider of her choice. Furthermore, the Court held that the state had failed to show a compelling interest to support the requirement that abortions be performed only by physicians.

Summary Authors

Kathleen Lok (11/19/2022)

Related Cases

Armstrong v. Mazurek, District of Montana (1995)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

98-066

Docket 98-066

Montana state supreme court

Nov. 12, 1999

Nov. 12, 1999

Docket

98-066

Opinion of the Court

Montana state supreme court

Oct. 26, 1999

Oct. 26, 1999

Order/Opinion

989 P.2d 989

Docket

Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 1:38 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Montana

Case Type(s):

Reproductive Issues

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 28, 1997

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Blue Mountain Clinic (not-for-profit corporation providing abortion care in Montana), and four physicians.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

Center for Reproductive Rights

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

The State of Montana, State

Attorney General, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Facility Type(s):

Non-government non-profit

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Available Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1997 - None

Issues

Reproductive rights:

Abortion

Licensing restriction

Reproductive health care (including birth control, abortion, and others)