Laxalt ‘looking into’ revisiting settled Nevada abortion law

By: - June 14, 2018 10:48 am

In 2014, when Governor Brian Sandoval and then-Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto declared the state’s ban on gay marriage indefensible and declined to pursue the effort in a federal lawsuit, then-candidate for attorney general Adam Laxalt pledged to put politics aside and uphold the state ban, passed by voters and codified into the Constitution.

“As attorney general, I will defend Nevada’s laws and our Constitution that the people and their elected officials enact,” Laxalt said. “I will not pick and choose which laws I think are good or bad. I will be a nonpartisan attorney general who will uphold the law as it is. This is what the people want, and this is how I will serve them.”

“In consecutive elections, the voters defined marriage as they saw fit and it is now part of our Constitution,” Laxalt said in a statement to the Las Vegas Sun.  “I believe if the voters want to amend that marriage definition within our Constitution, they have the ability and the right to do so.”

The U.S. Supreme Court took the matter out of Laxalt’s hands.

Now, Laxalt is less willing to defend the hard fought victories of Nevada’s electorate – specifically the overwhelming victory that codified abortion law.

He’s signed on to two amicus briefs supporting abortion bans in cases that have nothing to do with Nevada.  And yesterday, one day after winning his primary race, a broadly smiling Laxalt revealed his true intention to KOLO – he’s looking into overturning abortion law in Nevada.

“We are going to have many months to talk about this. The bottom line is my opponents have been very clear in the last many months they are incredibly extreme on abortion. We are going to have plenty of time to have that debate,” Laxalt said. Asked by KOLO if he would propose a referendum for voters to change Nevada’s abortion law, Laxalt responded, “We’re going to look into it.”

“Despite his attempts to dodge questions about reproductive health care, Laxalt’s record is clear,” said Lindsey Harmon, Executive Director of Nevada Advocates for Planned Parenthood Affiliates in a news release. “As attorney general, Adam Laxalt has repeatedly gone against the will of Nevadans and supported policies that strip women of their rights, freedoms, and control over their own bodies.”

Nevada law permits a woman to have an abortion performed by a physician in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. A physician may perform an abortion after 24 weeks only to preserve the life or health of the pregnant woman.

“Adam Laxalt fails to understand that Nevadans support a woman’s right to choose, codified in law since the 1990s.  His statement shows once again that Adam Laxalt is wrong on this issue and wrong for Nevada’s women,” says Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress in a statement to the Current.

The Current reached out to Laxalt’s campaign but has not heard back. Republican attorney general candidate Wes Duncan’s campaign was also asked for reaction, and similarly has not heard back.

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.