Senate Bill 131, an abortion bill sponsored by Senate Majority leader Nicole Cannizzaro (SD-6), passed the Assembly along party lines on Monday and is now awaiting Governor Lombardo’s signature or veto. The legislation passed the Senate with Republican Senators Carrie Buck (SD-5) and Heidi Seevers-Ganseert (SD-15) voting with the Democratic majority.
SB131 would codify former Governor Sisolak’s Executive Order who had announced at the time that “reproductive health care is a basic human right — We are committed to ensuring safe access to abortions for women seeking refuge from the restrictive laws in their state.” Although abortion up to six months of pregnancy, and beyond six months in certain cases, was legalized by voters in 1990, State Democrats continue to make abortion a centerpiece of their respective campaigns and related legislation.
The bill was the first to be filed by Sen. Cannizzaro. Taking to Twitter to promote this legislation as a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe V. Wade, Sen. Cannizzaro stressed that “women and health care providers will no longer fear imprisonment or criminalization for seeking or performing an abortion in Nevada” if they were traveling from a state that had legislatively limited or banned abortions.
🚨 I am turning in my bill to protect patients and providers from draconian abortion bans in other states!
🩺 If you're coming here to seek reproductive care, we want you to know you're safe and welcome in Nevada! pic.twitter.com/GeTdsmfHEQ
— Nicole Cannizzaro (@Nicole4Nevada) February 9, 2023
Opponents of this legislation fear that unsafe abortionists would be allowed to practice in the Silver State due to the statutory limitations placed on state agencies and voice concerns that Nevada would become an abortion tourism destination for women and children seeking abortions. As Nevada is the number one state for human trafficking and a state that does not require parental consent for minors seeking abortions, opponents raise additional concerns that traffickers will further exploit their victims and take advantage of this new law.
The Nevada GOP (NVGOP) released this statement after Senator Buck’s vote: “We are opposed to SB131 as it seeks to not only end innocent lives but also seeks to protect those individuals that would use Nevada as a safe haven for abortions, abortionists and possible child traffickers by removing the safeguards of parental consent.”
In response to the passage in the Assembly, the NVGOP congratulated the Republican minority for protecting women and children:
THANK YOU to @NVGOPAssembly for your unified vote NO on BAD BILL SB131 which protects sex offenders and human traffickers.
— Nevada GOP (@NVGOP) May 22, 2023
On the campaign trail, Governor Lombardo indicated he supported parental consent for abortion and issued an open letter on abortion detailing his position on Sisolak’s executive order, referring to it as “political theater.”
In the letter, Lombardo further noted:
Because there are efforts in other states that could impact Nevadans, I have made a commitment not to repeal that executive order until the legislature can make clear that Nevada is not going to prosecute women who seek an abortion or medical providers that perform legal abortions.
I am not running for Governor of California or Alabama; I cannot control what other states do, but I can continue to make it clear that we are not going to prosecute women for having an abortion in Nevada. Period.
In an interview with KNPR, Governor Lombardo signaled that he would sign AB133 “in its current form.”
Pro-abortion groups like NARAL celebrated the passage and Planned Parenthood released a statement urging Lombardo to make good on his word.
— NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada (@NARALNV) May 23, 2023
“Protections for our abortion providers and the patients who come to our state seeking care are a vitally important step in acknowledging the present national abortion access landscape and Nevada’s role as a safe haven state,” said Lindsey Harmon, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, in a statement.
SB133 is a political lightning for the Republican governor, as only two Republicans in the legislature joined Democrats in the bill’s passage and the Nevada GOP stands firmly against the bill.
As this is an obvious legislative priority of the majority, with Democratic activists claiming a huge victory, Governor Lombardo will have to decide whether he hands a “huge victory” to the Democrats who have continually obstructed his legislative priorities.
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