Republican candidate for governor and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo speaking at the Smith Center in February. (Photo: Dana Gentry)
A Las Vegas abortion provider says almost half of his patients now are from a state where the procedure is restricted or banned and he fears Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo, if elected, would eliminate legal protections for out-of-state patients and Nevada providers who care for them.
“Personally, I think if Lombardo is elected, our rights, health and our ability to choose when and if we start a family will be limited, or worse, government controlled,” Dr. Adam Levy said Thursday during a press call hosted by Nevada Democratic Victory.
“We’ve already seen a huge increase in patients in our clinic,” Levy said, adding women seeking abortions are coming to Nevada from “… Arizona, Texas, Utah and even as far as Louisiana.”
Levy, who says he’s practiced in Nevada for more than 30 years, hailed Gov. Steve Sisolak’s executive order from June, protecting out-of-state patients and abortion providers.
“We need this order to stay in place to feel secure and continue providing care,” Levy said. “Joe Lombardo has equivocated or at least said he may reverse this order or maybe not. I don’t know where he stands on that because he won’t answer that.”
Lombardo’s campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Ray did not answer the Current’s question about the executive order but said in a statement that although Lombardo is pro-life, “a woman’s right to choose is settled Nevada law that was put in place by the voters of this state – and only the voters can change that. Sisolak’s politicization of the issue now is a desperate attempt by a failed governor to change the subject.”
Ray said it’s “Sisolak’s extremist abortion stance that is wildly out of touch with Nevadans. His support for late-term abortions and abortion on demand — while opposing parental notification — is out of step with what most Nevadans believe.”
The governor does not support late-term abortions, according to campaign spokeswoman Reeves Oyster.
“Politicians should never have a say when it comes to the personal decision of when or if to start a family and as long as I’m governor, I’ll keep it that way,” Sisolak said when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade.
“This morning, the United States Supreme Court rightfully returned the power to the people and their elected state representatives,” Lombardo said last month when the high court reversed the nearly 50-year old ruling. “As the U.S. Supreme Court decided today and as Nevadans decided long ago, this important issue was and should be decided by Nevada voters, and moving forward, I trust them to make the best decision for our state.”
The right to an abortion up to 24 weeks is codified in Nevada and would take a vote of the people to overturn it.
“Nearly half of the states in our country are at risk of banning abortion care and over a dozen already have bans in place,” said Mini Timmaraju of NARAL, a national abortion rights organization, adding with Roe v. Wade overturned by the Supreme Court, Republicans “have a bigger window than ever to push their dystopian agenda. I’m not being alarmist when I tell you that the worst of it is still yet to come.”
Nevada state Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro warned that Lombardo “would consider cruel barriers, like mandatory waiting periods, and even banning contraception, which is the craziest thing that I think we could possibly have heard at this point in time.”
Asked during a primary election debate if he’d support bans of morning after pills and waiting periods, Lombardo said “Yes, absolutely.”
Lombardo said on KLAS-TV that as governor, he would look at all legislation with “a pro-life lens.”
“He’s left the door open to any and to all anti-choice legislation,” Cannizzaro said. “He has said repeatedly that everything is on the table.”
“Sheriff Lombardo has no plans to restrict or limit access to Plan B or any type of contraception in the state of Nevada,” Ray said in a statement. However, she did not provide specifics on anti-choice measures he would support as governor.
Cannizzaro raised concerns about Lombardo using public resources to fuel his support of anti-abortion efforts. She cited a Metro pamphlet that includes an entry for an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center for women “seeking an alternative to abortion” but does not include any resources for those seeking an abortion.
Despite polling that indicates two-thirds of Nevadans support the right to abortion, Lombardo, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Victor Joecks, said he’d support a voter-approved ban on abortion at 13-weeks, with exceptions for physical health, rape and incest.
This story was updated to include comments from the Lombardo campaign.
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