Days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, an estimated 1,000 people gathered at the Missoula County courthouse on Sunday to protest the decision.

Sunday's rally coincided with similar events around the country, including a rally of comparable size held in Helena. The Missoula event took to the streets calling for reproductive rights and female autonomy.

Montana's Republican lawmakers have voiced support for the high court's decision, which now hands the issue down to states to determine. Opponents of the Supreme Court decision note that abortion remains protected in Montana under the state's constitutional right to privacy.

“Montanans deserve to know how their legislators plan on voting on our right to privacy,” said Sheila Hogan, the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. “Every single Republican legislator should be asked how they’d vote in a special session. Are they willing to carve up our state constitution to wage this war on our reproductive rights?”

Those marching in Missoula didn't mince words and their signs reflected their anger. Abortion had been considered a right and a law that stood as precedent – a term used by Supreme Court conservatives during the vetting process ahead of their confirmation.


Many on Sunday felt betrayed and lied to by those justices and dismissed the court as a politically biased body no longer rooted in constitutional law.

“We have to act now, all across the country and especially here in Montana where these rights still exist,” one Missoula protester said. “We will send a strong message that we're not backing down. Supporting abortion access must be protected and defended.”

Political pendants have begun to consider the impacts of the court's decision on the November election, suggesting it could prompt some moderate Republicans to vote on behalf of Democrats.

President Joe Biden already has suggested that a woman's right to choose is on the ballot in November. Some states have already made abortion illegal in the wake of Friday's ruling.

While Montana isn't yet one of them, conservatives in Helena are already looking to take up the issue. Gov. Gianforte called the court's decision a “historic win for life, families and science.”

“With this monumental decision, the Supreme Court has restored power to the American people and their elected representatives. I’m in discussions with legislative leaders on next steps as we work to protect life in Montana,” Gianforte said.

But House Minority Leader Kim Abbott and Senate Minority Leader Jill Cohenour, both Helena Democrats, said Montana’s right to privacy remains intact and abortion remains legal – so long as the state's constitution remains intact.

“Our state’s constitutional right to privacy is the only thing standing between Montanans and the politicians who want to control the most intimate aspects of our private decision making,” Cohenour and Abbott said in a statement.