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Leading pro-abortion rights group doubling down on Rosen, Nevada for 2024

Reproductive Freedom for All hopes its focus on Nevada will ensure Democrats keep a Senate majority.
Eric Neugeboren
Eric Neugeboren
Gabby Birenbaum
Gabby Birenbaum
Election 2024Elections

Reproductive Freedom for All, previously known as NARAL Pro-Choice America, formally endorsed Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) Tuesday — a foregone conclusion for a Democrat in a swing state Senate race. 

But formality of the endorsement aside, the group’s involvement in Nevada highlights a key part of Democrats’ strategy heading into the election — the potency of abortion rights as a motivating campaign issue two years after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the legal right to an abortion.

Nevada is one of four battleground target states for Reproductive Freedom this cycle, alongside Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. The organization boasts a 48,000-member base in Nevada that it hopes to activate to drive voter engagement — with plans to launch a campus organizing program, run a canvassing and phone and text banking operation and support efforts to get a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to an abortion in the state on the ballot this fall, a strategy that has proven fruitful in driving voter turnout in states such as Ohio.

Democrats on the 2022 ballot benefited politically after the June 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade, igniting a groundswell of support for Democratic candidates among defenders of reproductive rights and placing the issue of abortion access squarely in the minds of voters. In 2024, the group — and Rosen — face the challenge of convincing voters that, more than two years later, abortion rights still matter.

In a Tuesday interview with The Nevada Independent in Las Vegas, president and CEO Mini Timmaraju said she expects abortion to be an even more potent campaign issue than two years ago, as more Americans have felt the impacts of Roe’s overturning and former President Donald Trump — who appointed three of the Supreme Court justices that voted to overturn Roe — will likely be back on the ballot. 

“The farther we get from [the overturning], the longer the abortion bans have been in place,” she said. “The more time passes, the more horror stories are coming out, so it’s actually getting more salient.”

A New York Times/Siena poll from October found that 65 percent of Nevadans think abortion should be legal, up from 54 percent from another Times/Siena poll taken a year earlier. The more recent poll, however, showed a decrease in Nevadans viewing social issues, such as abortion, as most important, while economic issues were viewed as increasingly important. 

Abortion is protected in Nevada up to 24 weeks by a 1990 ballot referendum, and can only be undone by another vote of the people or a federal ban. Still, efforts to get abortion on the Nevada ballot are underway — a PAC affiliated with the political arm of Planned Parenthood is seeking a state constitutional amendment that would first go before voters in 2024, and Democratic state lawmakers are on track to place a similar ballot initiative on the 2026 ballot.  

At an event in Las Vegas announcing the endorsement of Rosen on Tuesday, the Democrats’ dual strategy of nationalizing abortion messaging while pushing for a state ballot question was on full display. 

Speakers singled out Sam Brown, the Republican front-runner to challenge Rosen, as a “rubber stamp” for any abortion legislation favored by Trump. The New York Times reported last week that Trump has expressed support for a 16-week national abortion ban. 

“Do you think that Sam Brown, who endorses Donald Trump 100 percent, is going to go against what Donald Trump wants?” Rosen said at the event, referencing Brown’s recent endorsement of Trump.

Brown has kept mostly mum on abortion this cycle. The self-described “pro-life” Republican once supported a 20-week abortion ban a decade ago, but has dodged answering direct questions as to whether he would support a national abortion ban as a senator. Such a ban would require 60 votes in the Senate, and federal changes to abortion policy are more likely to come from a new administration or the Supreme Court.

Asked in an interview about what ideal federal legislation would look like, Rosen did not answer directly.

“What I would say is this: what Nevada has in statute now is pretty good,” she said.

Rosen has been a supporter of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a federal measure that would prohibit state governments from outlawing abortion prior to fetal viability, or after viability if the patient or baby’s life is in danger.

Speakers voiced support for the effort to place a question on the November ballot to enshrine abortion rights in Nevada’s constitution. The measure, which is facing legal challenges, needs to receive at least 102,586 signatures by July 8 to qualify for the ballot. 

If the measure makes it on the ballot and passes, it would be placed on the ballot again in 2026, when a second affirmative vote would add the language to the state Constitution. 

“We need it on the ballot,” Denise Lopez, Reproductive Freedom’s director of Nevada campaigns, said Tuesday. “Voters need to decide and protect our rights to abortion.”


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