Abortion rights advocates demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court

Abortion rights advocates demonstrate in front of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., United States on December 1, 2021.

(Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Nevada Becomes Latest State Where Voters Could Decide on Abortion Rights in 2024

A coalition called Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom filed a petition to place a proposed constitutional amendment on 2024 ballots.

Reproductive rights groups in Nevada said Thursday that they plan to make the state one of a growing number where voters will make their voices heard on abortion in 2024, in the face of bans that have been passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom—a coalition including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, and Indivisible Northern Nevada—said it filed a petition with the secretary of state's office to include on 2024 election ballots a referendum that would enshrine abortion access in the state constitution.

Nevada is not among the 22 states that have passed severe restrictions or bans on abortion care since Roe was overturned in June 2022, but advocates want to make it harder to weaken the state law that protects abortion access up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

The constitutional amendment proposed by the coalition would say the state "may not penalize, prosecute, or take adverse action against any individual based on the outcome of a pregnancy of the individual, or against any licensed healthcare provider who acts consistent with the applicable scope and practice of providing reproductive healthcare services to an individual who has granted their voluntary consent."

It would also ban any abortion restrictions before the point in pregnancy when physicians determine a fetus is viable, generally around 23 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

"The fallout of the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade has shown us that we have already suffered one year too long without the guaranteed right to reproductive freedom, and we simply cannot afford to stand by and allow any further encroachment on the fundamental right of Nevadans to determine their own reproductive lives and care," Lindsey Harmon, the executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, toldNBC News.

The coalition has until June 26, 2024 to gather 103,000 signatures from registered voters in support of placing the proposed amendment on ballots. It would need to pass with a simple majority next year to appear again on 2026 ballots, as two separate votes are needed to amend the constitution.

Recent polling by the Pew Research Center found that 62% of adults in Nevada believe abortion care should be legal in most or all cases.

Referendum votes in states including Montana, Kansas, and Kentucky last year showed that voters in states across the country—including those that lean Republican—also back abortion rights. Voters in those states rejected proposals that would have allowed their legislatures to ban or restrict abortion, sparking a new strategy among pro-abortion rights groups.

This November, voters in Ohio will vote on whether to codify the right to abortion care in the state constitution, and residents already demonstrated support last month for pro-choice campaigners who urged them to reject a measure which would have raised the threshold needed for the constitutional amendment to pass. Ohioans decisively voted against the proposal.

Organizers in Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho, and South Dakota have also launched campaigns to give voters a say on abortion care by placing referendums on 2024 ballots, with some facing opposition from GOP officials.

The ACLU of Missouri sued Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft last month after he wrote in official ballot language that the proposed constitutional amendment would "allow for dangerous, unregulated, and unrestricted abortions, from conception to live birth."

In Nevada, campaigners said Thursday they aim to "make sure Nevada voters can say for themselves that they support reproductive freedom."

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