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Legislation introduced to make access to abortion and vasectomy a right in the Nevada Constitution

Nicole Cannizzaro and Steve Yeager stand indoors behind podiums, looking away from the camera. There is a blue Nevada state flag on a vertical pole behind Yeager.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
Democratic Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro (left) and now-Speaker Steve Yeager hold a joint press conference following the State of the State address at the Nevada State Legislative Building in Carson City, Nev., on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.

Advocates are applauding legislation introduced on Thursday that would protect access to reproductive health care under the Nevada state constitution.

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, along with 39 other Democrats, sponsored the joint resolution. SJR 7 would make it a right for an individual to make decisions about and obtain an abortion, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, and care for a miscarriage. It would also prohibit the state from prosecuting a health care worker for providing an abortion or a person for aiding another in accessing reproductive health care.

Nevada law protects access to an abortion for up to 24 weeks, or longer to save the life of the pregnant person. Enshrining the protections in the state constitution would make the rights more difficult to repeal. Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada Executive Director Lindsey Harmon said this is crucial following the overturn ofRoe v. Wade.

“We had a lot of conversations about the Dobbs decisions, how that was somehow returning the abortion decision or discussion back to the states. I think most of us who work in the movement know that that’s not true, that this has been a systemic undoing of abortion law in the U.S. for a very long time. If it were about states, then we should absolutely all get behind turning something like this over to a vote of the people,” Harmon said.

Since the legislation aims to amend the state constitution, it would need to pass the 2023 and 2025 Nevada Legislative Sessions, then Nevada voters would ultimately decide through a ballot question in 2026.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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