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Abortion rights activists believe they have enough signatures to get measure on ballot

Group awaits signature verification after submitting more than twice the number needed for ballot proposal to enshrine rights into the state’s Constitution.
Kelsea Frobes
Kelsea Frobes
Election 2024Health Care

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom announced Monday that they have gathered at least twice as many signatures than needed to qualify a measure to enshrine abortion rights into the Nevada Constitution for the November ballot.

Caroline Mello Roberson, director of state campaigns for Reproductive Freedom for All, said the group collected more than 200,000 signatures, nearly double the approximately 102,000 required by June 26 to qualify the potential measure for the ballot. Now the signatures head to election officials for verification.

If enough valid signatures are on the petition, the measure will be on the November ballot for voters to consider. Supporters of the measure had to gather about 26,000 certified signatures at a minimum from each of the four congressional districts.

“If we win that election with a simple majority of Nevadans voting that, yes, they want to put the right to abortion in our state Constitution, then it goes before voters again in 2026,” Mello Roberson said. “Then voters have to decide whether or not they vote yes. If they vote yes [in 2026], then it becomes a part of our state Constitution.”

Abortion rights have been a hot topic in Nevada politics since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973 affirmed the legality of abortions nationwide, and then again when that ruling was overturned nearly 50 years later. Although abortion is already legal in Nevada up through 24 weeks into a pregnancy or when required to protect the life or health of a pregnant patient, Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom is continuing to push to enshrine abortion rights into the Nevada Constitution, where they would be more secure. 

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom had originally proposed a constitutional amendment that included the enshrinement of additional reproductive-related rights such as the right to a vasectomy, infertility care, prenatal care and other forms of birth control. But Mello Roberson said that they chose to focus their efforts on a version that only aims to enshrine abortion rights because “there were some folks that decided to try and intervene [with the original proposed measure] and so we put forward an alternative language focused solely on abortion rights.”  

Mello Roberson said that although abortion is already legal in Nevada through a statewide vote in 1990, enshrining abortion rights into the Nevada Constitution will make it harder to overturn the protections that are in state law. 

“We are in a crisis, like we've never been before, with reproductive freedom all over the country, including here in Nevada,” she said. “States like ours, which have statutory protections — which are awesome — need to expand those protections by putting covenant protections in our state Constitution.”

Constitutional protections would help ensure “future generations of Nevadans never have to worry about whether their reproductive freedoms are protected,” Mello Roberson said.

Although Mello Roberson says that Reproductive Freedom for All endorses President Joe Biden because he has “committed to codify our federal right to abortion, and that he has a strong track record of supporting reproductive freedom,” she says that in regards to the Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom coalition, it's “important to remember that reproductive freedom is something supported by Nevadans from all political backgrounds.”

“That includes Democrats, Republicans, nonpartisans, and anyone in between. It also includes men and women, any gender that folks identify as, and every racial background, too,” she said. “So this is a broad coalition that will be built by Nevadans and for Nevadans as it has been so far and will continue to be so.”

Jason Guinasso, the lawyer representing the group that challenged the proposal, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment on Monday afternoon about opponents’ strategies looking forward.


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