Snowfall is the latest state where advocates are pushing to enshrine abortion access and other reproductive rights in the state constitution, following the lead of other states that have successfully codified those rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom: a coalition formed by Family planning Votes Nevada, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada filed a petition with the Nevada secretary of state’s office on Thursday seeking to ask voters to preserve those protections with a constitutional amendment.
If the group gathers at least 103,000 valid signatures from registered voters by June 26, the question will appear on the ballot in November 2024. If a simple majority supports an amendment, in 2026 voters will be asked to give it a second approval, according to Nevada rules for changes to its state constitution.
“The consequences of the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court have shown us that we have already suffered one year too long without the guaranteed right to reproductive freedom, and we simply cannot afford to stand by and allow any new invasion of the fundamental right. of Nevadans to determine their own lives and reproductive care,” said Lindsey Harmon, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, in a statement.
The amendment would ensure that Nevadans have the right to make decisions about “all matters related to pregnancy,” according to a copy of the text obtained by HuffPost. This includes, among others, “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, abortion care, management of miscarriage, and infertility care.”
The amendment would allow the state “regulate the provision of abortion services after fetal viability,” which typically begins around the 24 week of gestationas long as the pregnancy does not threaten “the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant person.”
The effort in Nevada comes as pro-natal Republicans, galvanized by the Supreme Court’s decision that states can set their own restrictions on abortion, have set their sights on a total ban on abortion throughout the country ― even though such extreme laws still exist very unpopular with voters, polls show.
“When the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion care, it permanently altered the access landscape across the country,” Caroline Mello Roberson, state campaigns director for NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement. “Now, state-level protections like the ones we have in Nevada are being tested like never before. “Anti-abortion extremists are more determined than ever to end abortion access, and we cannot and will not allow their dangerous vision for Nevada to become a reality.”
Nevada, where polls show approximately 7 out of 10 voters identify as pro-choice, currently has a state law protecting abortion, but a constitutional amendment would make that right more secure. Nevada is among the states that have experienced a sharp increase on patients having abortions since the fall of Roe, as well as people from states that have cracked down on the procedure emigrate throughout the country to receive care.
Several other states have passed similar constitutional amendments during recent elections, including California, Michigan and Vermont. Anti-abortion efforts in deeply red states have also proven unpopular last year among Kentucky voters. rejecting an effort to codify in the state constitution that the state does not protect the right to abortion or require funding for abortion care. Kansas voters also overwhelmingly chose to keep abortion protections in their state constitution.