On Wednesday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced his intention to seek legislative codification of an order he issued protecting in-state abortion doctors and out-of-state patients if he is re-elected.
He emphasized that governors are the final line of defense in defending women's rights to make their own reproductive health care decisions. The buck has to be dropped by us.
Reproductive rights have become core to his re-election campaign in the pivotal swing state and that of Democrats nationally, so he made the announcement in the side lounge of a Reno coffee and wine shop where he offered to host a panel of obstetrician-gynecologists, medical students, and reproductive freedom activists to discuss their plans to protect abortion access.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued an executive order stating that the state would not cooperate with other jurisdictions seeking to prosecute individuals who fly to Nevada for abortions. It also makes certain that doctors who perform abortions are not penalized by the boards and commissions responsible for granting medical licenses.
To make the order into law, a representative would have to introduce a bill to do so. It can only be approved in Nevada during the 2023 or 2025 legislative sessions due to the state's biennial legislative format.
Sisolak has joined an increasing number of Democrats who have made the repeal of Roe v. Wade a key talking theme, even in Nevada, where abortion within 24 weeks has been legalized by law since 1990. According to his remarks on Wednesday, his job is to maintain the access that exists and provide funding resources for caregivers.
Joe Lombardo, the anti-abortion Republican gubernatorial nominee, has hinted that he may reverse Sisolak's executive order but has thus far refrained from taking a firm stance.
In an email statement released on Wednesday, he added, I'd have to assess it, and I'd look at it from the perspective of being a pro-life governor. He had earlier assured KRNV, a local news station, that he would reverse the decision.
According to Sisolak, if Lombardo is elected, she will try to ban abortions after 13 weeks by means of a referendum. Lombardo, when asked if he would back a referendum vote to limit access to abortion, said he would support giving them the ultimate decision if voters or the state government proposed such a proposal.
He was vague about whether or not he would advocate for a vote in a referendum.
I believe letting voters make the final decision, he stated, echoing Nevada law.
In Nevada, where Dems have held all three branches of government since 2018, Republican politicians are hoping a red tsunami would help them regain power.
In contrast to its strategy in 2014, when it last gained control of both the state house and governorship, the party is taking a very different approach this year, with abortion reemerging as a prominent campaign topic in the midterms. In that same year, the state party abandoned its previous stance on abortion. Even so, this year's leading candidates in that state have repeatedly emphasized that the right to abortion is written into state law and that any attempt to limit abortion here would require a referendum rather than a legislative battle.
I am Catholic and pro-life, but in Nevada, the right to an abortion is enshrined in law and only Nevada voters can change that, Lombardo added.
Sisolak made this point clear to the coffee shop crowd on Wednesday, contrasting himself favorably with his rival.
He emphasized that this consideration should be taken into account while making a final choice. We can't afford to go backwards right now, he said.
The panel also discussed the fact that patients go to Nevada for abortions from as far away as Texas and from adjacent states like Idaho, Utah, and Arizona, all of which have proposed legislation to limit women's access to abortions. They discussed the necessity for a facility to teach obstetricians and gynecologists and how there currently isn't one at the University of Nevada, Reno.
A Planned Parenthood spokesperson mentioned an upcoming clinic opening near the Reno airport to better serve the growing number of patients from other states who are seeking refuge in Nevada.
Nearly every statewide contest in Nevada is affected by the subject of what's next in terms of abortion access. Both candidates in the close contest for the United States Senate have sought to characterize the opposing candidate's position.
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, has accused her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt, of being the decisive vote for a nationwide abortion ban that would override Nevada's state law. Laxalt has branded this claim a "falsehood." In an effort to portray Cortez Masto as an extremist, Laxalt has claimed that she supports "infanticide," or abortion up until the moment of birth.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Headline Health.