Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Wednesday that if he wins re-election, he will seek to legislate in the next legislative session an executive order he signed protecting instate abortion providers and foreign patients.
“The governors are the last line of defense in protecting reproductive freedoms,” he said. “With us, the buck stops.”
The announcement was made in the side lounge of a coffee and wine shop in Reno, where he invited a group of obstetricians, gynecologists, medical students and reproductive rights advocates to discuss their plans to protect access to abortion, given that reproductive rights are a key component of its reproduction. Election campaign in the most important swing state and that of the Democrats across the country.
In the days following the Supreme Court decision in June, Roe v. Wade, Sisolak signed the executive order saying Nevada will not assist other states trying to prosecute residents who travel to Nevada for abortions. It also ensures that medical boards and commissions that oversee medical approvals do not discipline or disqualify physicians who perform abortions.
For this order to be converted into law, a legislature would have to sponsor the bill and go through the legislative process. Due to Nevada’s two-year legislative structure, it can only be passed in the 2023 or 2025 sessions.
Even in Nevada, where abortion has been legal within 24 weeks since 1990, Sisolak is among a growing number of Democrats supporting the overthrow of Roe v. made Wade a big topic of conversation. On Wednesday, he said his job is to “continue existing access” and expand funding resources for providers.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo, an anti-abortion candidate, hinted that he could overturn the Sisolak executive order but declined to take a hardline position.
“I would have to evaluate it, and I would look at it from the perspective of a pro-life governor,” he said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. He previously told a local TV station that he would pick it up.
Sisolak has repeatedly said that if elected, Lombardo will push through a 13-week abortion ban through a referendum. Asked if he would support restricting access to abortion through a referendum, Lombardo said that if voters or lawmakers put forward a voting measure, he would “stand in favor of giving them the final decision.”
He did not indicate whether he would actively support a referendum.
“I support giving voters the ultimate choice, as enshrined in Nevada law,” he said.
Republican candidates are hoping a red wave will put them back in power this year in Nevada, where Democrats have enjoyed trifecta control of the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature since 2018.
But as abortion becomes a key campaign issue again this year’s Midterms, the party is taking a very different approach than it did in 2014, when it last gained control of the state house and governorship. This year, the state party dropped an anti-abortion statement from its platform. But this year its frontrunners have emphasized that abortion rights are enshrined in state law and that restricting abortion here would require a referendum vote, not a legislative battle like some other states.
“I’m Catholic and pro-life, but in Nevada, abortion rights are enshrined in law and only Nevada voters can change that,” Lombardo said.
In the café on Wednesday, Sisolak emphasized that there were big differences between him and his opponent.
“People have to make the decision with that in mind,” he said. “This is a situation where we cannot afford to take a step backwards.”
The panel also spoke about patients from other states who have come to Nevada from Texas, as well as neighboring states of Idaho, Utah and Arizona, who have presented plans to limit access to abortions. They spoke of a lack of, and need for, an obstetrician-gynecological training center at the University of Nevada-Reno.
A Planned Parenthood representative spoke of a soon-to-be-opened location at Reno Airport that will help serve a growing number of out-of-state patients who see Nevada as a safe haven.
The question of “what next” for access to abortion is an issue that touches on nearly every statewide race in Nevada. In the tight race for the US Senate, both candidates have attempted to define each other’s stance.
Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has warned that Republican challenger Adam Laxalt could be the deciding vote for a national abortion ban that would replace Nevada state law, a position Laxalt called an “untruth.” Laxalt has attempted to portray Cortez Masto as an extremist, saying she advocates “infanticide” or abortion until the moment of birth, a procedure that does not occur.
Associated Press writer Sam Metz in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.
Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover undercover topics. Follow Stern on Twitter @gabestern326.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/nevada-ap-steve-sisolak-democrats-reno-b2147364.html Nevada government vows to enact legislation to protect patients