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 November 26, 2023

Nevada judge rejects attempt to solidify abortion rights via Nevada ballot initiative

A judge in Nevada has dismissed an effort to incorporate abortion rights into the state's constitution through a proposed ballot initiative for the 2024 election, as The Hill reported

The judge, District Judge James T. Russell, agreed with a newly formed political action committee (PAC) called the Coalition for Parents and Children PAC, which filed a lawsuit last month to block the petition.

“This is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single subject rule,” Russell said, according to local outlet KOLO News, which first reported the ruling.

“I’ve seen a lot of them over the years and in respect to this particular matter, there are too many subjects,” the judge added. “Not all of which are functionally related to each other.”

His decision comes in response to a petition submitted by Nevadans for Reproductive Rights on September 14.

The issue of pro-life legal challenges has been a key issue for a number of conservatives, particularly former President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election in 2024. The former president has been vocal about his support for the unborn.

If passed by voters, the initiative would have added a new section to Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution, ensuring “every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including, without limitation, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, abortion care, management of a miscarriage and infertility care.”

According to reports from The Las Vegas Review Journal, Russell also contended that the potential consequences of the issue were unclear.

He also emphasized the need for financial resources to establish a commission to evaluate abortion clinics to determine if they met minimum standards of care.

Advocates for reproductive rights in the swing state have promised to keep fighting, and Nevadans for Reproductive Rights has announced plans to appeal the ruling.

“Nevadans overwhelmingly support putting reproductive rights into our state constitution, and voters should be aware that anti-abortion advocates still have plenty of state government allies who are willing to help them undermine reproductive freedom,” Lindsey Harmon, president of the abortion-rights PAC, said in a statement.

She added that the group would not “let one judge’s misguided ruling deter us from giving Nevadans the opportunity to vote to permanently protect their reproductive rights in the Nevada Constitution.”

In the event that the Nevada Supreme Court decides to overturn the judgment, proponents of the petition will have until July 8 to collect more than 100,000 signatures in order to have the item considered for inclusion on the ballot for the 2024 election.

If the measure is approved, Nevada will join the ranks of other states like Ohio, which earlier this month became the seventh state to safeguard access to abortion through the ballot initiative process.

As it stands currently, abortion in Nevada is lawful up to 24 weeks.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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