LAS VEGAS—Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued an executive order Tuesday protecting out-of-state abortion patients and medical providers, the latest countermeasure from the West Coast where Democrats have promised to strengthen reproductive rights after the death of Roe v. Wade.
“Reproductive health care is a basic human right,” Sisolak, a Democrat, tweeted late Tuesday afternoon. “We are committed to ensuring safe access to abortions for women seeking refuge from the restrictive laws in their state.”
In Nevada, Roe’s protections are firmly embedded in state law, meaning the people who seek the procedure here are largely immune to the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday to erase nearly 50 years of federal abortion protections.
But Sisolak’s order now offers official safeguards for the influx of patients expected to head to Nevada for abortion services as Republican lawmakers move to implement bans and other restrictions in nearly half the states.
Under Nevada’s executive order:
- Nevada will not share patient information or “use time, money or other resources” to assist outside authorities seeking to prosecute a person for receiving, assisting in or providing abortion services.
- Providers are protected and will not be disqualified or disciplined in Nevada for services related to reproductive health care.
- Sisolak’s office will decline extradition requests from states that issue an arrest warrant stemming from an abortion ban or restrictions on reproductive health care services.
Those protections extend to “all medical, surgical, counseling, or referral services” related to reproductive health care, including contraception and abortions, according to the two-page order.
Sisolak’s order mirrors actions taken by a coalition formed Friday by the Democratic governors of California, Oregon and Washington. The trio took swift action in the immediate days after the Supreme Court’s decision, also vowing to protect patients and providers from prosecution.
Read the full executive order here:
Abortion rights have been cemented into Nevada law for more than three decades thanks to voters who passed a statewide ballot initiative in 1990.
The popular measure was adopted with support from nearly two-thirds of voters, and effectively secured the right to obtain an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy in Nevada.
Anti-abortion advocates would have to win another statewide referendum in order to reverse that decision — a task that’s proven difficult in a state where polls show consistent voter support for abortion rights.
In fact, abortion opponents have lost just such a fight before, most recently in 2012, when they failed to gather the signatures needed to put a Question 7-killing measure to voters.
Rio Lacanlale is the Las Vegas correspondent for the Reno Gazette Journal and the USA Today Network. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @riolacanlale. Support local journalism by subscribing to the RGJ today.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism