SJR 7 places reproductive rights into the Nevada Constitution

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:59 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Nevada has abortion laws in the books. Written into statute, they allow for abortions to be performed by a licensed physician up to 23 weeks. However, because they are laws, Nevada lawmakers can go in and change aspects of the statue, like parental notification or sonogram requirements.

Since the overturning of Rowe versus Wade last summer by the U.S. Supreme Court, some Nevada lawmakers want to continue guaranteeing reproductive rights.

“Was a decision that should be made by the states,” says Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro of the Dobbs decision released last summer. “What a better way to make that decision in Nevada known than through Nevada voters.”

Senator Cannizzaro is a major sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 7. Introduced in the senate today, it would amend the state constitution guaranteeing reproductive freedom. Abortions would be protected.

But Senator Cannizzaro says in this political climate, birth control, even invitro fertilization needs to be protected.

“Every Nevadan regardless of what that decision may be, has access to reproductive health care,” says Senator Cannizzaro. “And that can include birth control, to infertility treatments, vasectomy, tubal ligation, miscarriage management. This is necessary because statues don’t provide consistency, we know they are subject to change.”

The resolution will need to pass out of the senate and assembly this session as well as the 2025 session. At that point it will appear on the 2026 ballot for Nevada voters to approve or disapprove.

“We make it difficult to amend our constitution,” says Professor Fred Lokken with the political science department at Truckee Meadows Community College. “We spread it over a long period of time. And we involve a lot of public conversation about so that people are aware, can be in the dialogue and can exercise their franchise; and their voice.”

Lokken believes some Republican lawmakers may vote in the affirmative for SJR 7.

He says they know what happened back in 1990 with Question 7. A statewide ballot initiative, it affirmed the right to an abortion by statue, and any changes to that would need a vote of the people. More than 60% of Nevada voters cast a Yes.

These days Lokken says the topic is hotter than ever and will bring voters out perhaps in record numbers to let their voices be heard. Lokken says if Question 7 is any indication, this Senate Joint Resolution should easily pass if it makes it to the voter.