Formerly NARAL Pro-Choice Montana

We Honor Those Who Have Come Before Us

As we celebrate our organization’s 40th year of working on behalf of Montanans, we acknowledge the many advocates, healthcare providers, abortion seekers, doulas and midwives, transgender and Two Spirit individuals, parents, teachers, elected representatives, , and many, many others who have come before us in this work.

Thank you for your relentless efforts to advance issues related to sex, gender, and reproduction. Montana’s movement is strong because of you; we will work thoughtfully to build on and amplify your legacy.

Time immemorial

Pregnant people used abortifacient plants to end their pregnancies. Before colonization, people had bodily autonomy and sovereignty over their lives.

1500

Colonialism: 1500’s and ongoing

  • Genocide of people and decimation of cultures and traditions
  • Religious missionaries tried to erase traditional knowledge and healing practices
  • Indigenous peoples were forced into boarding schools through efforts of forced assimilation
  • Midwives, doulas, and other traditional healers were banned from practicing medicine as white men established themselves as physicians
  • Governments and medical systems enacted practices of forced sterilization among anyone deemed unfit to parent. Those most commonly targeted included Indigenous and other People of Color, those with disabilities, and those with mental health issues.
  • Governments, police, and child welfare programs disproportionately remove Indigenous, Black, and other Children of Color from their families, resulting in generations of trauma and separated families

1800

19th and 20th Centuries

  • Industrialization – people move into the cities and away from rural and more self-sustaining communities
  • The criminalization of sex work becomes more prevalent
  • Anti-immigration policies begin
  • Epidemic of Missing & Murdered Indigenous People continues
  • Labor Movement works for more human-centered workplace conditions

1840

The Mothers of Gynecology: Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey were Black women enslaved near Montgomery, Alabama.

They were experimented on without their consent, and without anesthesia, by Dr. J. Marion Sims. These women’s bodies were used to advance science, and for too long, their sacrifices have gone unacknowledged. Current gynecology medical practices exist because of these women and countless others whose bodies were experimented on and used. For more information, visit this site: anarchalucybetsey.org

1924

Indian Citizenship Act passed, granting full birthright citizenship to all Native Americans, in addition to their tribal affiliation

1969

The National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) was established

1972

Montana Constitution is rewritten, making it the 3rd most recent constitution in the world.

Created in a bipartisan manner through the Montana Constitutional Convention. Establishes strong right to privacy which sets the framework for protecting many rights in Montana, including the right to access abortion and gender affirming care.

1973

NARAL changes its name to the National Abortion Rights Action League

Roe v Wade decision – allows for federally legal abortion care up to viability

1977

Blue Mountain Women’s Clinic opens as Montana’s first abortion provider

1984

Montanans for Choice is founded to advocate for the right to abortion in Montana.

1985

Montanans for Choice Take Action is founded

1990

James Armstrong, MD, Susan Cahill, PA, Mindy Opper, PA, and Blue Mountain Clinic sue the state of Montana to allow patients to access abortion care from the provider of their choosing.

1995

Jeannette R. v Ellery decision by the MT Supreme Court finds that Montana Medicaid must include coverage for abortion care

1997

Montanans for Choice became a state affiliate of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and changed the name to NARAL Pro-Choice Montana Foundation.

1999

Armstrong v State decision by the MT Supreme Court affirms the right to access pre-viability abortion care due to the right to privacy in the Montana Constitution.

The decision further allowed Physician Assistants, in addition to Physicians, to provide abortion care.

2003

National NARAL becomes NARAL Pro-Choice America

2016

Anti-abortion efforts to put a ‘personhood’ amendment on the MT ballot fails to collect enough signatures

2018

Helem Weems, FNP, opens All Families Healthcare in Whitefish, MT

2021

NARAL Pro-Choice America chooses to eliminate its affiliate structure – no longer investing in state-based work through their affiliate structure

2022

US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade, and almost 50 years of legal precedence, allowing states the right to determine abortion regulation (Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health)

Montana Supreme Court unanimously decides to allow abortion provision by nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives, becoming the 19th state to do so (Weems v State)

Montana’s No on LR 131 campaign defeats anti-abortion ‘born alive’ bill

2023

Montana Sexual & Reproductive Health Collective is formed

Legislative session passes 9 anti-abortion bills

All Families Healthcare and Blue Mountain Clinic join a federal lawsuit filed in the Fourth Circuit to protect access to mifepristone

2024

Montana Supreme Court hears case challenging parental notification requirement for anyone under age 16 seeking abortion care in Montana.