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Laxalt calls 1973 Roe v. Wade decision ‘a joke,’ bemoans Nevada’s abortion protections

Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2022

Earlier this month, Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt called the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision “a joke” and said it’s “sad” that Nevada is not anti-abortion.

Laxalt made the comments during a June 6 pancake breakfast with pastors and faith leaders in Reno, and audio from that event was obtained by The Nevada Independent. It marks some of the bluntest language used by Laxalt on the subject of abortion this election cycle.

Roe v. Wade was always a joke. It was a total, complete invention,” Laxalt said. “It has created decades and decades of political turmoil. Not to mention, the most important thing that it allowed across the country. So, I think its return back to the states is important.”

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Laxalt released a statement celebrating the “historic victory for the sanctity of life” and said the Supreme Court “never had the expertise nor the authority to unilaterally legislate on abortion.” The statement also noted that abortion rights are “settled law” in Nevada. 

But in his comments to faith leaders in Reno, Laxalt noted recent polling showing a solid majority of Nevadans describe themselves as “pro-choice,” and said there is work to do around the issue. 

“We’re not a pro-life state. We all have to be honest about that. It’s sad, it doesn’t make me happy,” Laxalt told the assembled faith leaders. “But we are not a pro-life state and we got work to do on that.”

Laxalt has not directly responded to specific questions about his stance on abortion protections and has avoided stating how he would vote if the question of codifying abortion protections came before the Senate. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in mid-May that he would support a new statewide referendum to enact a strict 13-week abortion ban.

As attorney general, Laxalt signed onto multiple legal efforts to restrict abortion access. In his current run for U.S. Senate, he has been endorsed by anti-abortion groups Nevada Right to Life and National Right to Life. Laxalt holds the endorsement of former President Donald Trump and a host of other conservative elected officials, including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). McConnell said in May that a national abortion ban is “possible” if the courts overturned Roe v. Wade and if Republicans flip the Senate in 2022.

For more on Laxalt’s stances on abortion and the positions of other major candidates, click here.

Editor’s Note: This story appears in Indy 2022, The Nevada Independent’s newsletter dedicated to comprehensive coverage of the 2022 election. Sign up for the newsletter here.


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