NEVADA – Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, a Republican, made headlines on Tuesday as he became one of the first Republican governors to pass legislation safeguarding the rights of out-of-state abortion patients and in-state providers. With this move, Nevada joins the growing list of states that are enacting new laws to solidify their status as safe havens for individuals seeking abortions.
The newly passed legislation codifies a previous executive order issued by former Governor Steve Sisolak last year. The order prohibited state agencies from assisting in out-of-state investigations that could potentially lead to the prosecution of abortion patients who travel to Nevada. Additionally, the law ensures that medical boards and commissions responsible for overseeing medical licenses cannot discipline or disqualify doctors who provide abortion services.
Governor Lombardo, who identifies as pro-life and draws inspiration from his Catholic faith, expressed his commitment to respecting the will of the voters. In a 1990 referendum vote, abortion rights were codified up to 24 weeks in Nevada. Notably, Lombardo was the only Republican governor to defeat a state Democratic incumbent in the last election and received an endorsement from the National Right to Life organization.
Lombardo’s decision to sign the law enshrining protections for abortion became a major point of contention during the 2022 midterms, which featured one of the closest governor’s races. Initially, Lombardo stated his intention to repeal the executive order but later reversed his position, deciding to uphold it. Sisolak’s campaign consistently emphasized this reversal. In February, Lombardo indicated his willingness to sign the bill, which was sponsored by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro. It is important to note that the new law does not introduce any additional protections beyond those already outlined in Sisolak’s executive order.
Senate Majority Leader Cannizzaro expressed her appreciation for Governor Lombardo’s commitment to ensuring Nevada’s non-participation in prosecutions of women who exercise their reproductive rights. In a statement, she stated, “I’m glad to see Senate Bill 131 was signed by Governor Lombardo today, and I want to thank him for following through on his commitment to ensuring that Nevada won’t participate in prosecutions of women who come here to exercise their reproductive rights.”
It is worth noting that earlier this month, Nevada’s Democratic-controlled Legislature advanced a resolution aimed at incorporating existing abortion rights into the state constitution. If passed in the 2023 session and subsequently in 2025, it would be presented to voters on the 2026 ballot. However, the governor’s approval is not required for this process.
Credits: Fox Reno
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