CLARIFICATION: This story has been modified to specify that Nevada’s abortion rights protections are provided by state law.
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Supreme Court ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade will have almost no immediate effect in Nevada, where state law protects the right to legal abortion.
But it’s sure to start the heated conversation again.
Nevada is one of nine states with abortion rights. It ensures abortions can be performed within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. The statute would need to be repealed through a lengthy process, which would include a vote of the people.
A repeal process would involve a signature collection, a ballot referendum, and then legislative approval.
Nevada law allows an abortion after 24 weeks if the mother’s health is at risk. That procedure must be performed at a hospital. The law also requires parents to be informed if their child under the age of 18 is seeking an abortion, unless a judge rules otherwise.
Democratic Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak on Friday commented on the ruling.
“I’m disappointed to see this decision from the Supreme Court — it will rip away critical healthcare and the right to choose for millions & undoubtedly cause harm. As long as I’m Governor, Nevada will continue to fight for reproductive rights & expand access to healthcare,” Sisolak said in a tweet.
The executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, Lindsey Harmon, said the organization will continue to fight for Nevadans’ rights.
“By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies,” Harmon said in a statement Friday morning.
“This dangerous and chilling decision will have devastating consequences across the country, and will ultimately force people to travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles for care or go without care entirely. However, we want everyone to know that in Nevada, you can still seek an abortion today. And for those in states that may be losing access, Nevada will remain a safe haven for abortion care,” Harmon said.
“That said, today’s decision is a call to action for supporters of abortion rights. Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, our partners, and our supporters will never stop fighting for your rights,” Harmon said.
Abortion rights are expected to be a major point of contention in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt, Nevada’s former attorney general. And it’s likely to be a topic in other races, as well.
Laxalt described Friday’s decision as a “historic victory for the sanctity of life and the principles of democratic self-determination.” Laxalt was one of the first Republicans in the state to comment when a draft of the decision was leaked two months ago, and he was again among the first voice among Nevada Republicans on Friday.
“The Supreme Court has never had the expertise nor the authority to unilaterally legislate on abortion. After more than 50 years, that responsibility is poised to finally return to its rightful owners: the American people and their elected representatives,” Laxalt said. “The people of Nevada have already voted to make abortion rights legal in our state and the Court’s decision on Roe doesn’t change settled law and it won’t distract voters from unaffordable prices, rising crime or the border crisis.”
In contrast, Cortez Masto said the court ripped away “a woman’s fundamental right to make her own health care decisions.”
“With Roe gone, extremists are planning to pass a federal abortion ban if they retake the Senate. And Nevadans cannot risk my opponent Adam Laxalt – who’s celebrating today’s ruling as “an historic victory” – being in the Senate for that vote,” Cortez Masto tweeted on Friday.
Current Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford has voiced strong support for abortion rights: “The Office of the Attorney General will take every step necessary to protect Nevada law and the rights of Nevadans.”
There has been some speculation that the nine states with protections for abortion rights could become destinations for women who are seeking abortions.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.