Pro-choice groups react to AG Laxalt's anti-abortion legal action

Published: Jun. 19, 2018 at 3:38 PM PDT
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Representatives from the local chapter of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), along with other pro-choice groups and residents who are pro-choice, met at Reno City Plaza June 19, 2018 to voice their reaction to comments made by gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt at his primary victory party last week.

“I'm going to err on the side of life,”


Those comments came after I asked the Attorney General why, in the last five months, he's filed anti-abortion briefs in Texas and California on behalf of Nevada. That’s despite the fact this state's abortion laws have been frozen since 1990 and would require a vote of the people to change.

Russell: You can't change it without a vote of the people.

Laxalt: We are happy to talk about that in the coming months.

Russell: Are you planning on doing that as governor? Would you propose a referendum for voters to vote on that? Because that's how it has to change in Nevada.

Laxalt: We are going to look into it.

The reaction from pro-choice advocates was swift and nearly instantaneous.

“His statements are not only troubling; they are dangerous for Nevada women. We believe that repealing established law in our state is the wrong move for Nevada. And we also believe women should be able to make their own reproductive health care choices,” said Caroline Mello-Roberson with NARAL.

Mello-Roberson and others at the protest say the women and men who worked on ballot Question 7 in 1990 will not be forgotten. The initiative was approved overwhelmingly, and it kept abortion laws in place in Nevada. That is, unless there is a vote by the people.

Protestors wonder if, as Attorney General, Laxalt in fact forgot about the state law, or if he knew it ever existed in the first place.

“I think he didn't. I think he spent so little time in the state of Nevada growing up, and as an adult, that he came here, he might have heard about some statute but didn't understand it was a referendum. And that is was passed by the overwhelming majority of the people who voted here. No, I don't think he even knew,” says Nancyann Leeder with Nevada Women’s Lobby.

After our story aired last week, Laxalt’s campaign claimed first the candidate couldn’t understand my question because of the noise of the crowd. Later the campaign claimed his comments were taken out of context. The entire interview is attached to this story for you to hear the attorney general’s comments for yourself.