RENO, Nevada (LifeSiteNews) — Carson City District Court Judge James Russell has invalidated a proposed ballot initiative to embed a “right” to abortion in the Nevada Constitution, determining it was in clear-cut violation of the legal requirement for potential amendments to only cover one subject at a time.
Backed by a group called Nevadans for Reproductive Rights, the so-called “Reproductive Freedom Amendment” would establish a state-level “constitutional right” to “make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including, without limitation, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, abortion care, management of a miscarriage and infertility care.”
It would allow abortion to be “regulate[d]” after fetal viability, albeit with the exception of any abortion deemed “necessary” for the mother’s “life or physical or mental health,” a loophole that would render any ban effectively meaningless. It would also establish that the state could not “penalize, prosecute or otherwise take adverse action” against individuals for “actual, potential, perceived or alleged outcome of the pregnancy of the individual, including, without limitation, a miscarriage, stillbirth or abortion,” which could be construed as protecting infanticide.
Local ABC affiliate KOLO reports that the pro-life PAC Coalition for Parents and Children filed a lawsuit against the initiative on the grounds that it violated the state’s single-subject rule by covering a broad range of topics aside from abortion.
“This initiative clearly violated the [statute] with regards to the kinds of initiatives that should be presented to the public,” said the PAC’s Jason Guinasso. “So, we can have an open and transparent debate.”
“It is clear to me this is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single subject rule,” Russell concluded. “I just, I’ve seen a lot of them over the years and in respect to this particular matter, there are too many subjects. Not all of which are functionally related to each other.”
Nevadans for Reproductive Rights says it will appeal the ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court and in the meantime will continue collecting the signatures necessary to place it on the 2024 ballot should it be upheld. If voters pass the amendment, it would have to be passed again in 2026 to become part of the state constitution.
Fifteen states currently ban all or most abortions, with available data so far indicating that pro-life laws that became enforceable when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 or more abortions a year.
In response, abortion supporters pursue a variety of tactics to preserve abortion “access,” such as easy access to abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, and making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors.
Arguably their most successful tactic has been working to attempt to embed “rights” to abortion in state constitutions, which effectively insulates abortion-on-demand from future state legislation and could only be overridden by a federal abortion ban. Since the 2022 midterm elections, such efforts have succeeded in Vermont, California, Michigan, and most recently Ohio, and are being attempted in Florida and Maryland.
The issue has prompted much conversation among pro-lifers about the need to develop new strategies to protect life at the ballot box.