A progressive coalition filed a petition initiative Thursday to put the right to reproductive freedom on the Nevada ballot in 2024.
The ballot measure seeks to expand Nevada’s 1990 voter referendum which codified abortion protections into state law by also codifying those rights in the state constitution.
Last summer, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had enshrined the right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution. Following that decision, former Gov. Steve Sisolak issued an executive order to protect out-of-state abortion seekers from prosecution by other states. Gov. Joe Lombardo later upheld and codified that measure into state law.
“The fallout of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade has 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 further encroachment on the fundamental right of Nevadans to determine their own reproductive lives and care,” Lindsey Harmon, executive director for Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, said in a statement Thursday.
The Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom coalition — which includes Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada and the ACLU of Nevada — must collect 103,000 signatures by June to qualify for the ballot in November 2024.
If voters pass the ballot measure in 2024, it must reappear on the 2026 general election ballot for final passage, according to the coalition’s statement.
In addition to enshrining the right to abortion care in the constitution, the ballot initiative would ensure every individual has a right to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, management of a miscarriage and infertility care, according to the initiative petition filed with the secretary of state.
It would also protect people seeking abortions, those helping them and health care providers from prosecution or a penalty.
“We’re just trying to guarantee every right to a person’s own bodily autonomy,” Harmon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
But Melissa Clement, president of Nevada Right to Life, called the initiative “craven” and an attempt to scare women into voting for Democrats.
She expressed concerns that abortion would be protected similarly to First Amendment rights like freedom of the press and religion.
“Right now this is all progressives and the Democrats can focus on, is more deaths, more women heartbroken,” Clement said. “Make no mistake, the thing they never talk about is what we’re really doing. This right that we’re protecting is the death of a baby, an unborn Nevadan.”