LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- A petition initiative to protect abortion rights in the Nevada Constitution was filed Thursday, beginning a long process to approval that could further shield rights already in state law.
Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom announced the effort in a news release that said the effort is being led by Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada and the ACLU of Nevada.
Democratic Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro voiced her support.
"After the fall of Roe, abortion access across the country has been jeopardized. That’s why my Democratic colleagues and I have been fighting to strengthen Nevada’s reproductive freedoms, including codifying the right to an abortion in our state constitution," Cannizzaro said.
"This is an important ballot measure that gives Nevadans the right to control their bodies -- not out-of-touch politicians. I am fully in support of Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom and their coalition's efforts to put this measure on the ballot in 2024," she said.
The petition initiative must collect 103,000 signatures by June 2024 to qualify for the November 2024 ballot. If voters pass it in 2024, it will appear again on the 2026 general election ballot for final passage.
The language in the petition initiative relies on a determination of "fetal viability," which it defines as "the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of an attending provider of health care and based on the particular facts of the case, there is a significant likelihood of the sustained survival of the fetus outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures."
A 1990 voter referendum codified the protections for abortion as outlined by Roe v. Wade into state law. That law could be overturned if Republicans gain a majority in Nevada. Putting it into the Nevada Constitution would make it much harder to overturn.
"The urgency of this moment in our nation’s history demands immediate action from us all," Lindsey Harmon, executive director for Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, said. "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. 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."