Nevada verifies enough signatures to put constitutional amendment for abortion rights on ballot

Abortion is legal in Nevada, but a state law is easier to pass and more vulnerable to change than the constitutional protection organizers are seeking.
Election 2024 Abortion Nevada
Posted at 6:47 PM, Jun 28, 2024

A ballot question to enshrine Nevada’s abortion rights in the state constitution has met all of the requirements to appear in front of voters in November, the Nevada Secretary of State’s office announced Friday, and Democrats across the nation hope similar measures mobilize supporters on Election Day.

They have made abortion rights a central message since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 court decision establishing a nationwide right to abortion. Nevada voters in 1990 made abortion legal up to 24 weeks, but a state law is easier to pass and more vulnerable to change than the constitutional protection organizers are seeking.

County officials from across the Nevada approved the required number of signatures from Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, the political action committee that organized the ballot initiative. The Nevada Secretary of State's office certified those totals, according to a memo sent to organizers Friday.

Several Republican-controlled states have tightened abortion restrictions or imposed outright bans. Fourteen states ban abortions at all stages of pregnancy, while 25 allow abortions up to 24 weeks or later, with limited exceptions.

Most states with Democratic legislatures have laws or executive orders protecting access. Voters in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and Vermont have sided with abortion rights supporters on ballot measures. Supporters of abortion rights have qualified measures for ballots in Colorado and South Dakota, and Nevada was among about nine other states where signature drives have been underway.

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom announced last month that they submitted more than 200,000 signatures. Proponents needed 102,000 valid signatures by June 26 to qualify for the ballot, and just under 128,000 were deemed valid.

The organization held a news conference Monday, which marked two years after the Dobbs v. Jackson decision overturned the national right to abortion, to promote the petition and unveil a letter signed by medical professionals in support.

“We can’t take anything for granted in a post-Dobbs world and that’s why we are really doubling down on the protections we have in statute currently,” said Lindsey Harmon, the group’s president.

Anti-abortion group Nevada Right to Life spokesperson Krystal Minera-Alvis said in a statement that the proposed amendment is “based on lies” and is funded by “out of state dark money,” and described the ballot question as misleading, given that abortion rights are already codified in state law.

“As an organization, we stand firm on the fact that this amendment is unsafe and dangerous for women of all ages,” Minera-Alvis said in the statement.

Separately, Republican organizers said they submitted nearly 180,000 signatures to get a measure on November’s ballot that would amend the state constitution to require that voters show photo identification at the polls, said David Gibbs, of political action committee Repair the Vote. If counties verify just over 100,000 signatures, voters would have to pass the amendment in both 2024 and 2026 for it to take effect.

Related story: Iowa's Supreme Court tells lower court to let strict abortion law go into effect