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Advocates in Nevada Want to Get Abortion Rights on the 2024 Ballot

“The urgency of this moment in our nation’s history demands immediate action from us all,” one advocate said.

People marching in a pro-choice march with placards. Protestors gathered to voice their anger at the leaked Supreme Court documents.

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom has officially launched a campaign to get an amendment on the 2024 ballot that would enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution.

“No politician should be able to make decisions about our own health care for us, so we’re making the right to abortion a permanent fixture in the Nevada constitution,” Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom says on its website. “Starting in 2024, Nevada voters will be able to vote to amend the constitution to include abortion as a fundamental right because we know we can’t let another year go by without these vital protections.”

Organizers at the kickoff event for the ballot initiative emphasized that reproductive rights are in danger after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled on February 16 that frozen embryos should be given the same legal rights as children. That ruling means that people could theoretically be sued for destroying an embryo, which has led to multiple fertility centers in the state ceasing treatments. Advocates fear that right-wing lawmakers and judges are expanding their attacks on abortion rights to other reproductive health care.

“The ruling out of Alabama is a reminder of just how urgent this issue is. We knew that the overturning of Roe v. Wade opened the door not just to limits on abortion but every part of reproductive health care including IVF, birth control, and so much more,” Tova Yampolsky, the campaign manager for Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, told NBC News.

In 1990, Nevada voters approved a referendum that established clear statutory protections for abortion. Nonetheless, the possibility of repeal through another referendum exists, underscoring the necessity for a constitutional amendment. Additionally, despite the statutory protections, abortion is generally prohibited in Nevada at 24 weeks post-fertilization.

However, the state has proactively protected the right to an abortion after Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022. Just four days later, the governor of Nevada issued an executive order which prohibited cooperation with out-of-state investigations related to the lawful provision of abortion in Nevada, and directed state licensing boards to establish policies ensuring that no person would face disciplinary action or be disqualified from licensure for providing or assisting with abortion care. In 2023, the state passed an interstate shield law formalizing the protections outlined in the 2022 executive order.

The state also has a data privacy law on the books that regulates the collection, usage, and sharing of consumer health data, encompassing abortion and gender-affirming care data. This law also prohibited the use of geofencing within 1,750 feet of a medical facility that provides health care services. The significance of safeguarding data privacy was highlighted by a recent investigation revealing that a U.S. company monitored individuals’ visits to 600 Planned Parenthood facilities across 48 states, selling the data to an anti-abortion group.

In the 20 months following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, advocates for abortion rights have emerged victorious in every election where the issue has directly appeared on the ballot. Nevada is one of at least 10 states working to get abortion rights on the 2024 ballot. In order to qualify for the ballot, Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom must collect approximately 103,000 signatures, evenly distributed among the state’s four congressional districts. Additionally, since petition initiatives suggesting constitutional amendments must pass twice in the state, it would have to be presented to voters again in 2026.

“The urgency of this moment in our nation’s history demands immediate action from us all,” Lindsey Harmon, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada Executive Director, said in a statement. “Abortion rights and access in this country are in peril like never before despite the fact that the broad majority of Americans support abortion rights.”

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