Nevada lawmakers initially approved a state constitutional amendment Thursday that would create a “right” to abort unborn babies up to birth.
Abortions already are legal for any reason up to 24 weeks in Nevada, and the situation is unlikely to change with Democrats controlling the state legislature. However, a state constitutional amendment would make it more difficult for voters and lawmakers to pass protections for unborn babies in the future.
The radical bill would “guarantee each individual in this State a fundamental right to reproductive freedom,” including abortion. Because there is no age limit, the amendment could allow underage girls to get secret abortions – or be forced by abusers – without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
The state Assembly approved of the measure 28 to 14 along party lines today with Democrats voting for abortions up to birth and Republicans voting against it. The Senate passed it 13 to 8 along party lines three weeks ago.
State lawmakers must pass the resolution again in 2025 before it would go before voters as a ballot question in 2026.
In an emotional speech, Republican Assemblyman Ken Gray recounted how his mother considered having an abortion before deciding against it, saying “if I weren’t here, my kids wouldn’t be here.”
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“I cannot and will not view (abortion) as anything other than evil,” he said.
The amendment also would protect abortionists and others who help women abort their unborn babies by prohibiting the state authorities from prosecuting anyone who helps any individual “in exercising his or her right to reproductive freedom.”
Although the amendment claims to allow protections for unborn babies from abortion after viability, it says state laws still must allow abortions up to birth for any “medical” reason including “mental health.”
The definition of viability in the bill also raises questions about how late in pregnancy a baby would qualify. Premature babies are surviving as early as 21 weeks of pregnancy with modern medical technology; however, the bill defines viability as the “significant likelihood” of the baby’s survival “without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”
The Nevada Constitution can be amended in one of two ways: “either approval from two legislative sessions and an election, or two consecutive elections with a simple majority of votes,” according to the report.
In 2020, 8,633 abortions were reported in Nevada, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no constitutional right to abortion in June, the pro-abortion movement has been trying to create a “right” to abort unborn babies in state constitutions through ballot initiatives. Vermont, California and Michigan passed pro-abortion constitutional amendments in November, and pro-life leaders are warning of similar efforts in Ohio, Maryland, Missouri and South Dakota.
Several states have pro-life constitutional amendments that voters passed in recent years, including Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Currently, 14 states are enforcing pro-life laws that prohibit or strictly limit the killing of unborn babies in abortions, and others are fighting in court to do the same. Pro-life leaders estimate tens of thousands of babies’ lives have been saved since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.
Polls consistently show a strong majority of Americans support legal protections for unborn babies, especially after the first trimester or once their heartbeat is detectable.