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Women will not yield in the free state of Nevada • Nevada Current

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Generations of Nevada women have ardently championed reproductive freedom with authentic Battle-Born spirit, strategic persistence and a steadfast commitment to personal freedom and family values. Despite facing national forces seeking to exert control over women and intrude into the most intimate and significant decisions of our lives — such as determining if, when, and how often to have children — Nevadans have consistently stayed one-step ahead in defending our autonomy.

In the 1990s the women spearheading Question 7 secured access to legal abortion care in our state. It was not even close. On November 6, 1990, 63.47% of NV voters approved Question 7. As the new century dawned, Nevada women remained vigilant. Despite being labeled as “alarmist,” these women foresaw the potential repercussions should a conservative religious majority be appointed to the court — Roe would fall.

 “Calm down,” Kathleen Parker and countless others told us, “Roe v. Wade isn’t going anywhere,” she wrote in The Washington Post. But remember Cassandra, princess of Troy, who refused the Greek god Apollo’s advances? Incensed by her rejection, Apollo cursed Cassandra with a gift of prophecy with a cruel twist: though she would always be right, nobody would ever believe her. That’s what it felt like to many of us.

As one Supreme Court justice nominee after another swore that ”Roe was settled law,” Nevada’s Cassandras continued sounding the alarm, but also sprung into action to prepare for the future we saw coming.  In 2019, the Question 7 women were joined by the next generation — the women of the Trust Nevada Women Act, which decriminalized medicated abortions and removed antiquated informed consent laws and other barriers to accessing reproductive health care in our state. The combined strategic thinking of these two generations saved Nevada from the fate in other states — and from laws over a hundred years old, many from the times when women could not vote. When the dreaded date eventually did come and Roe vs. Wade was overturned, the third generation and fourth generation of Nevada women and men are mobilizing with a definite response: “We Won’t Go Back.” 

Under the sustained leadership of the first majority women’s legislature (2019) in these United States, Nevadans have adopted subsequent laws to protect ourselves, our families and future generations of pregnant people. In what is widely regarded as “the most comprehensive state version of the Equal Rights Amendment in the nation,” a sweeping update puts protections in the state Constitution for people who have historically been marginalized….to ensure equal rights for all … regardless of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry, or national origin.

Moreover, in 2023, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 131, which prohibits the state of Nevada from assisting in the arrest or extradition of someone charged in another state for a crime related to reproductive health care services such as abortion, unless that crime is also a crime in Nevada. 

Understanding that as a free state Nevada would now also need expanded capacity for abortions (given the many women seeking care outside their regressive states), many women’s groups also contributed to Planned Parenthood’s new, state of the art reproductive health center recently inaugurated in Reno.

Now the moment has come for Nevada women and those who love us, to step up and secure the highest level of protection that our state can offer us by including abortion access in Nevada’s state constitution. To those who say, “a national ban will never happen,” we respond, “you may call us Cassandras, again, but we know what happens when extremists get a slim majority in legislative houses, state or federal.” It’s also clear that the so called “pro-life” movement is not content with its abortion bans, bans that in effect torture miscarrying pregnant people when wanted pregnancies fail because the fetus is not viable or the mother’s life and fertility are a risk. Don’t look away from the barbaric forced births for girls as young as 10 who have been raped, or the infants destined to die in pain hours or days after birth. 

We know extremists who want to twist our laws and infuse them with  their religious principles, in complete opposition to the founding tenets of our nation–life, freedom of religion and the pursuit of happiness—are now moving on to legislate access to contraception and fertility treatments. One hundred twenty-five Republican members of the House of Representatives are sponsoring The Life at Conception Act, which includes no exceptions for IVF.

The preposterous Alabama Supreme Court ruling will not be the last of its kind. It decided that an 1872 state law allowing parents to sue over the death of a minor child “applies to all unborn children, regardless of their location…without exception based on developmental stage, physical location, or any other ancillary characteristic.” Heed our warnings. Understand that the Republican plans in Project 2025 cast a deep shadow over us all. Originating from The Heritage Foundation, a prominent Republican think tank, it proposes enforcing the Comstock Act of 1873 (known as the “Chastity Law”) to ban the mailing of medications and medical equipment utilized for abortions. Additionally, it advocates for criminal prosecutions of both senders and receivers of abortion pills.

Within these conservative circles, there are even discussions about refocusing policy on the notion that sex should occur solely between a man and a woman, exclusively within marriage, and only for procreation purposes. Picture how such policies would be received in Nevada, a state renowned for our strong vibrant adult playgrounds and  determined individualism.

In response, a mighty alliance of groups supporting reproductive freedom and women’s health, Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, just launched a campaign to collect signatures to incorporate constitutional protections for reproductive rights on this November’s ballot. Canvassers across our four congressional districts are busy collecting the 103K signatures required by June 22 to include this measure on November’s ballot.

The Cassandras see what’s coming. Nevada women will not tolerate living inside a dystopian Margaret Atwood horror novel. We will not yield.


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