Demonstators at the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2020. (States Newsroom file photo)
As the Nevada statute reads, a woman’s right to get an abortion in Nevada “was submitted to and approved by referendum at the 1990 general election and therefore is not subject to legislative amendment or repeal.”
So if Nevada had a governor and a majority of state legislators who wanted to repeal that right – it currently doesn’t – the elected officials would not be able to do so.
The statute approved by voters in 1990 that protects abortion rights also states that an abortion may be performed “Within 24 weeks after the commencement of the pregnancy.” That too, can’t be changed by elected officials, but would have to be changed by the vote of the people through another ballot initiative.
A draft opinion leaked to the press Monday shows that when it rules this summer on a Mississippi law limiting abortion, the U.S. Supreme Court will use the case to overrule Roe v. Wade, which protects abortion rights nationally.
Republican-controlled states over the last few months have rushed to enact 15-week abortion bans, six-week bans and so-called trigger bans that would go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned and abortion is made completely illegal. At least 23 states now have laws on their books that would clamp down on abortion access should the U.S. Supreme Court rewrite abortion law or even overturn Roe v. Wade, though some laws are under challenge.
“Abortion will remain a right in Nevada regardless of this summer’s ultimate outcome,” said a statement Monday night from the Wild West Access Fund of Nevada, a nonprofit that seeks to remove financial barriers to an abortion.
“The Supreme Court has, yet again, reminded us that it was never designed to protect the most vulnerable,” said the group’s president, Macy Haverda. “Leaving this decision to the states has proven time and time again that many states are moored in racism, misogyny, and classism. Thankfully, Nevada has solidified the right to abortions.”
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a statement Monday night saying that in Nevada “we’ve made sure the government stays out of the personal decision of if, when, and how to start a family – just as it should be.”
Democrats in Congress have been trying to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. which would codify a right to abortion nationwide. Shortly after that legislation passed the House in September, Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto noted that some Republican women in the Senate “have supported women’s reproductive freedom.”
“But we would have to get 60 votes,” Cortez Masto added. Those 60 votes didn’t materialize, and the Senate blocked the legislation in February with support from 45 Republicans and one Democrat, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, leaving the measure well shy of the 60 vote threshold needed to overcome a filibuster.
Nevada Democratic members of Congress took to social media Monday to condemn the court’s prospective ruling and/or revive calls for passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act. One member of the Nevada delegation, Rep. Dina Titus, also said the Senate “must end the filibuster.”
Ending the Senate filibuster would require support from all 50 Senate Democrats. Manchin, along with Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, have been steadfast in their opposition to ending the filibuster.
“We do not know whether this draft is genuine, or whether it reflects the final decision of the Court,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Monday morning. “If the Court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law,” Biden said.
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