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Nevada lawmakers have taken a significant step towards protecting reproductive rights by passing a joint resolution to codify these rights into the state constitution. The measure, which includes existing abortion access up to 24 weeks, was approved by the state Assembly and Senate along party lines. However, the resolution must pass again in 2025 and go before voters as a ballot question in 2026 for final approval. If successful, it would provide comprehensive state-level protection for reproductive access, encompassing abortion rights, postpartum and prenatal care, and birth control.

The move comes in response to the wave of restrictive abortion laws implemented in several states following the reversal of Roe v. Wade. With more than a dozen states effectively outlawing abortion and others tightening abortion laws, Nevada aims to strengthen its reproductive protections. While abortion rights up to 24 weeks are currently safeguarded by Nevada law through a 1990 referendum vote, a constitutional amendment would provide stronger and more lasting protection, requiring multiple legislative sessions and voter approval.

Democratic lawmakers championed the resolution, emphasizing the importance of reproductive and medical freedom. They argued that decisions regarding healthcare, particularly reproductive health, should be made between a doctor, a patient, and trusted individuals. However, Republican lawmakers expressed opposition, citing existing protections and objecting to the inclusion of broader reproductive provisions. Republican Assemblywoman Danielle Gallant proposed splitting the resolution into separate proposals, but ultimately voted against the measure. Emotional arguments were made on both sides, with one Republican Assemblyman sharing a personal story about his mother’s consideration of abortion.

Overall, the joint resolution in Nevada represents a significant step in securing reproductive rights and expanding protections beyond the 1990 referendum vote. However, further legislative action and public approval will be necessary before these rights are enshrined in the state constitution.