Judge rejects attempt to enshrine abortion rights on Nevada ballot

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A judge in Nevada rejected a proposed 2024 ballot initiative that sought to enshrine reproductive rights, including abortion, in the state’s Constitution.

Siding with a newly established PAC — the Coalition for Parents and Children PAC — which filed a lawsuit last month to block the petition, District Judge James T. Russell deemed the proposed ballot initiative to be too broad, embracing a “multitude of subjects that amount to logrolling.”

“This is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single subject rule,” Russell said, according to local outlet KOLO News, which first reported the ruling.

“I’ve seen a lot of them over the years and in respect to this particular matter, there are too many subjects,” the judge added. “Not all of which are functionally related to each other.”

His ruling follows a petition that was filed on Sept. 14 by Nevadans for Reproductive Rights — a pro-abortion rights political action committee (PAC).

If passed by voters, the initiative would have added a new section to Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution, ensuring “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.”

Russell, according to reports from The Las Vegas Review Journal, also argued that the implications of the question were unclear. He further stressed that funding would also be required to create a panel to determine if a health provider carried out an abortion according to the appropriate standards of care.

Reproductive rights advocates within the swing state have vowed to continue in their efforts, with Nevadans for Reproductive Rights planning to appeal the decision.

“Nevadans overwhelmingly support putting reproductive rights into our state constitution, and voters should be aware that anti-abortion advocates still have plenty of state government allies who are willing to help them undermine reproductive freedom,” Lindsey Harmon, president of the pro-abortion rights PAC, said in a statement, adding that the group would not “let one judge’s misguided ruling deter us from giving Nevadans the opportunity to vote to permanently protect their reproductive rights in the Nevada Constitution.”

In the event that the Nevada Supreme Court reverses the decision, petition supporters would need to obtain over 100,000 signatures by July 8 in order to qualify the measure for the 2024 ballot.

If passed, Nevada could join the likes of Ohio, which earlier this month became the seventh state to protect abortion access via ballot.

Currently, abortion up to 24 weeks remains legal in Nevada following a 1990 referendum vote which codified abortion protections into state law by also putting those rights in the state constitution.

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