Groups formally launch campaign to enshrine abortion protections in Nevada constitution

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, a coalition of reproductive rights groups including the ACLU of Nevada and Planned Parenthood, is working to amend the state constitution to permanently enshrine the state’s abortion rights in the state constitution. (Courtesy of Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom)

By Lorraine Longhi

March 1, 2024

State law allows for any person in Nevada who is pregnant to have an abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. The proposed amendment would further enshrine abortion protections by cementing those rights in the state constitution.

An effort to allow voters to amend Nevada’s constitution and further protect the right to have an abortion in the Silver State is officially underway, after reproductive rights groups kicked off their signature gathering campaign over the weekend.

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, a coalition of reproductive rights groups including the ACLU of Nevada and Planned Parenthood, is working to amend the state constitution to permanently enshrine the state’s abortion rights.

The ballot initiative–or the process by which citizens can propose changes to the law by collecting signatures and sending the proposal to a vote–must gather 102,362 signatures by June 26 in order to go before voters in November.

State law allows for any person in Nevada who is pregnant to have an abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. After that, abortions may still be performed only if a doctor determines the life or health of the pregnant person is at risk.

The proposed amendment to the constitution would further enshrine abortion protections for patients and doctors by cementing those rights in the state constitution.

The move comes as Nevada Democratic congressional lawmakers have pushed in recent weeks to protect access to a popular medication abortion pill and backed federal legislation protecting Americans’ rights to access in-vitro fertilization.

In 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had established a nationwide right to abortion. The court’s decision returned the authority to regulate abortions back to individual states.

At the kickoff event for the signature gathering campaign over the weekend, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President and CEO Alexis McGill Johnson highlighted the 21 states who have passed abortion bans or restrictions in the two years since the Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Now is the time to protect abortion in Nevada — so no politician can ever get between us and our health care decisions,” she said. “And this fall, Nevada will prove yet again that this movement is not backing down.”

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro said Nevadans overwhelmingly support elevating reproductive rights to a permanent place in the state constitution.

“…we won’t be intimidated by relentless attacks on those rights happening across the country,” she said. “Nevadans are fired up, and we have the momentum to make Nevada a national leader in protecting personal freedom and the right to seek an abortion.”

Reach the reporter at [email protected].

  • Lorraine Longhi

    Lorraine Longhi is a reporter for The Nevadan and native of the southwest. A graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication, she spent eight years reporting in Arizona, including at The Arizona Republic and The Copper Courier, where she covered education, health care and state politics. She returned to Las Vegas, her hometown, last year as an education reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, where she was later promoted to assistant city editor

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