Helen Weems v State of Montana


Primary Content

(Revised 8.25.20) The Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana filed a lawsuit in State District Court in Lewis and Clark County, challenging a Montana law that restricts access to abortion care in the state.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including Helen Weems, a certified nurse practitioner, and their patients. The lawsuit asks the court to block a Montana law that prohibits APRNs from providing abortion care, despite the demonstrated safety of abortion and the proven ability of APRNs to provide early abortion with the same safety and efficacy as physicians and physician assistants.

Only a handful of clinics currently provide abortions in Montana, each separated by great distances. Because of this shortage of abortion providers, many Montanans seeking access to abortion services face significant burdens, including the time and costs of having to travel several hours to their nearest provider. 

Plaintiff(s): Helen Weems MSN, APRN-FNP and Jane Doe, MSN, CNM-WHNP.  

Attorney(s): Hillary Schneller 

Co-Counsel/Cooperating Attorneys: Alex Rate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana


We filed our complaint and requst for a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the law on January 30, 2018.  On April 9, the district court granted our request, blocking the law and allowing the plaintiffs to receive training to provide abortion services.  The State filed an appeal of the preliminary injunction with the Montana Supreme Court, which affirmed the lower court's ruling on April 26, 2019.  The case is now in discovery.