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February 22, 2024 7:08 pm

Local News

Future of Abortion Rights in Nevada

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Armand Jackson

With the Supreme Court conservative majority ruling 6-3 in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and 5-4 to overturn Roe, the landscape of abortion rights in the United States has drastically shifted with some states having expansive protections while others already implemented severe restrictions. Abortion will remain legal in Nevada due to a state law that includes protections for abortion that were ratified by voters in a 1990 referendum. So the state’s abortion law can only be amended or repealed as a result of direct votes from the people of Nevada by another referendum. Nevada, however, prohibits abortion at twenty-four weeks post-fertilization and limits public funding for abortion to only cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. 

Many state leaders have released press statements following the ruling. Governor Steve Sisolak joined Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights advocates at the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas to convey his disapproval of the decision stating: “The Supreme Court’s decision will jeopardize the lives and well-being of millions of Americans. I want to reassure all women and those seeking reproductive healthcare in Nevada – As long as I’m Governor, we will fight to protect your reproductive freedom.” Attorney General Aaron D. Ford also expressed his disappointment of the ruling with his statement: “Those who wish to attack reproductive rights will not stop at this ruling, and there are ways less sympathetic state or federal governments could find ways to restrict access in Nevada.”

Both the Democratic and Republican parties of Nevada have released their own statements. Nevada Republicans praised the court’s ruling and acknowledged the state’s protections via the 1990 referendum and expressed that their intention to change the law could not occur until 2024 at the earliest. Nevada’s Democratic party disapproved of the decision with their statement: “Although we recognize that our rights to reproductive care are protected by Nevada laws, we are only too familiar with the Republicans’ tactics of making abortion effectively impossible through roadblocks, restrictions, and bureaucracy.” 

There is a concern amongst Democratic officials and reproductive right advocates about the long term consequences of the Supreme Court overturning Roe. Multiple states across the country have already implemented laws prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, or extremely strict bans on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, a time in which many are not even aware that they maybe pregnant. There are even some neighboring states that are banning the procedure entirely with absolutely no exceptions. 

Another concern is that since abortion is no longer a federally protected right, an effort to  pass federal laws that mirror these anti-abortion state laws could be put in place to overturn laws in states like Nevada – raising the stakes further for the upcoming midterm elections. The Nevada Independent offers in depth coverage on candidates when it comes to their stances on abortion rights and their responses to the Supreme Court decision.