Petition for reproductive freedoms moving ahead after Nevada Supreme Court ruling

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Nevada Supreme Court ruling on Thursday said the original version of a petition to protect reproductive freedoms in the state constitution met requirements.

But groups behind the petition are instead moving forward with a second version after collecting more than 160,000 signatures. Organizers said they plan to submit that version to qualify for the 2024 ballot.

An attorney for one of the groups behind the petition told 8 News Now the new petition simplified the language at issue. It includes legal protections for women and doctors involved in legal abortions, and addresses fetal viability at about six months to match current state law.

It’s part of an effort against attacks on reproductive freedoms, writing them into the constitution instead of state statutes that can be overturned as political leanings change in state government. It’s a strategy that proponents believed was necessary in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion rights for 50 years under Roe v. Wade.

“Today’s decision is a resounding victory for our movement that builds on our momentum as we fight to lock the right to reproductive freedom into our state constitution. As anti-abortion extremists continue to attack our fundamental rights — from abortion to birth control to fertility treatments — this decision recognizes that reproductive freedom includes all reproductive health care,” according to a statement released by Reproductive Freedom for All Nevada.

The language in the first version of the petition had been struck down by a lower court because it violated the single subject rule:

“Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including, without limitation, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, abortion care, management of a miscarriage and infertility care,” the initial petition stated.

When the Nevada Supreme Court overturned that ruling on Thursday, the plan had already shifted to putting the second version on the ballot.

Nevada state law already protects abortion rights. Putting the language into the Nevada Constitution would require approval by voters in two consecutive elections. If the ballot initiative passes, it would go to a vote again in 2026 before passing as a constitutional amendment.

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