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Abortion rights petition okayed by Nevada Supreme Court 

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by Dana Gentry, Nevada Current

An initiative petition circulated by Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, an organization working to enshrine abortion rights in the Nevada Constitution, can proceed, thanks to the Nevada Supreme Court’s affirmation Thursday of the petition’s language, which focuses on reproductive rights, including contraception, vasectomies, tubal ligation, and infertility treatment.  

Donna Washington and the Coalition for Parents and Children challenged the petition, alleging it violated the single subject rule, the description was misleading, and the measure does not include funding to achieve its objectives. 

A lower court ruled in Washington’s favor and enjoined the Secretary of State from placing it on the ballot.  

The Supreme Court, in an opinion written by Justice Lidia Stiglich, disagreed, saying the petition has a single subject – reproductive rights – and that the description is “straightforward, succinct, and non-argumentative…” 

But the group circulating the petition is focused on another initiative that is more narrowly focused on abortion rights. It says it’s gathered more than 160,000 signatures on a second version of the initiative which is narrowly focused on abortion rights, and plans to submit it to qualify for the 2024 ballot. 

“Today’s decision is a resounding victory for our movement that builds on our momentum as we fight to lock the right to reproductive freedom into our state constitution,” Denise Lopez, director of Reproductive Freedom for All Nevada, said in a release following the court’s ruling. “As anti-abortion extremists continue to attack our fundamental rights — from abortion to birth control to fertility treatments — this decision recognizes that reproductive freedom includes all reproductive health care.” 

The right to an abortion is currently protected in Nevada through state law, which voters approved via a 1990 referendum. Changing that law, which mirrors the protections maintained by Roe, would require a direct vote of Nevadans. However, abortion rights are not protected in the state constitution.

Proposals for a national abortion ban by Republicans in Congress coupled with Donald Trump indicating a willingness to support a national ban have sparked fears of a ban in Nevada. During a campaign visit earlier this week, Vice president Kamala Harris warned voters that a second-Trump term would put reproductive health care at greater risk, and lead to a national abortion ban.

“Let’s not forget, Donald Trump made clear his intention to select three members of the United States Supreme Court so that they could overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade. It was his stated intention and they did as he intended,” Harris said in Las Vegas Monday.

Constitutional amendments proposed through an initiative petition must be passed by voters twice, meaning if voters approve one or both measures later this year, they will need to approve it again in 2026 before it can go into effect.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected]. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

Nevada Current
Nevada Currenthttps://www.nevadacurrent.com
Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: [email protected]. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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