Since 1990, Roe v. Wade has been statutorily protected in Nevada’s constitution. But with states like Texas and Ohio moving toward banning abortion altogether, what does that mean for the future of abortion access in Nevada?
Here’s the deal — in 1973, the Nevada legislature rewrote the abortion statute to align Nevada law with Roe v. Wade as it was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1990 a group of activists presented Question 7, a referendum petition that would statutorily protect Roe v. Wade in Nevada. This referendum was passed by an overwhelming majority of voters by a 63 to 37 percent margin. This means any amendment to the abortion statute must also be amended by a vote of the people.
While this means that abortion rights are protected in Nevada (it is one of only 13 states that have protected access to abortion should Roe v. Wade be gutted or overturned), many folks still experience unnecessary barriers while seeking abortion care in our state.
Only physicians licensed in Nevada are legally allowed to provide abortion care.
Nevada has banned public funding from being used for abortion services.
Access to abortion isn’t just about legality, it’s also about equitable access to health care. Oftentimes, it’s Black, Brown, Indigenous, and underserved communities facing these barriers when accessing care.
Nevada is a unique state - almost 20 percent of Nevada’s population is made up of immigrants and 3 percent of the immigrant population is made up of undocumented immigrants. The highest population density of Nevadans lives in the Las Vegas valley and the Reno-Sparks area. The state’s low walkability score means people heavily depend on cars for transportation.
So, what happens if you live in a rural county? Or don’t have access to health insurance? Or don’t have reliable transportation? A person seeking abortion care must have the answers to these questions.
Luckily, the Great Silver State is moving toward removing some of those barriers. In 2019, Nevada passed the Trust Nevada Women’s Act which removed the outdated penalties for inducing abortion without a doctor’s recommendation, which included a $10,000 fine or 10 years in prison. It also removed the requirement to ask a patient their marital status.
These are great strides toward freedom of choice, but there is so much more to do to ensure equitable access to abortion, especially as other states with legislatures far more hostile to abortion rights continue to pass more and more egregious and unconstitutional restrictions on abortion care.
For all of these reasons, we know that protecting Roe v. Wade and the right to an abortion is just the floor when it comes to abortion access, not the ceiling. The state must do more to ensure equitable access to abortion.
Find an abortion provider here: https://www.abortionfinder.org/results?location=nevada&age=18%20or%20older&lmpepoch=unsure
Need help accessing funds for an abortion, or would like to help others access abortion? Check out the Wild West Access Fund of Nevada.