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Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and her son in the Senate chambers (Photo: Megan Barth for The Nevada Globe).

NV Dems Move to Enshrine Abortion Rights Into Nevada Constitution

A group of 40 Democratic legislators led by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro introduced SJR7

By Megan Barth, March 19, 2023 11:40 am

Citing the U.S Supreme Court’s decision on Roe V. Wade, a group of 40 Democratic legislators led by Senate Majority Leader introduced a measure last Thursday to enshrine abortion protections in the Nevada Constitution.

“The Supreme Court failed Nevadans when it upended fifty years of law to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Cannizzaro said in a statement. “In light of that decision, Nevadans deserve an opportunity to decide for themselves whether to enshrine reproductive freedoms into our state constitution.”

SJR7, introduced in the Senate on Thursday, would guarantee “a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” authorize “the state to regulate abortion care after fetal viability with certain exceptions” and prevent the state from penalizing or prosecuting an individual exercising the “right to reproductive freedom.”

The proposed constitutional amendment states that reproductive rights would include, “without limitation, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal litigation, abortion, abortion care, management of a miscarriage and infertility care.”

With this amendment, Nevadans will have the ability to establish firm constitutional limits on government overreach into private medical decisions, leaving them between patients and doctors where they belong,” Cannizzaro continued.

Any amendment to the state constitution requires passage through two biennial legislative sessions to appear as a ballot question in 2026. A majority of Nevadans must then vote to approve the amendment.

This same process codified abortion into state law in 1990 allowing abortion up to 24 weeks and beyond 24 weeks if the health of the mother is threatened by the pregnancy. With this vote, the Nevada Legislature may not in any way alter the law, unless it is first repealed by state voters in a direct vote.

In February, Cannizzaro introduced SB 131 and would codify former Governor Sisolak’s executive order on abortion which eliminates the ability of any healthcare licensing board to disqualify potentially unsafe abortionists from practicing in Nevada; prohibits the Governor from surrendering, or issuing a warrant of arrest for, a person in this State who is charged in another state with a criminal violation of the laws of that other state; and, prohibits state agencies in the Executive Department of the State Government from providing assistance in a criminal investigation initiated in another state. 

Republican Governor Joe Lombardo has signaled his support for this bill in an interview with NPR. Many critics of SB131 ask how the elimination and prohibition of board oversight will impact the safety of women and children who seek abortions.

According to recent reports, nearly half of the abortions in Nevada are performed on women and children from another state and those numbers are expected to increase. The neighboring state of Utah recently passed legislation restricting abortion procedures to hospitals, thereby eliminating abortion clinics.

Last year, Planned Parenthood broke ground on a state-of-the-art abortion facility in Reno and labeled Nevada as a “safe haven” for abortion. Planned Parenthood also notes that Nevada is a safe haven for children who seek abortion as Nevada does not require parental consent.




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