November 28, 2023

Nevada Judge Rejects Petition for Pro-Abortion Ballot Initiative

On November 21, Nevada Judge James T. Russell in Carson City District Court ruled that a pro-abortion ballot initiative hoping to embed abortion rights into the state constitution is too broad and misleads voters. His ruling would prevent pro-abortion groups from moving forward with the petition, but proponents have already announced plans to appeal.

The Nevadans for Reproductive Rights political action committee filed the petition to create several "reproductive rights" in the state constitution on September 14. If successful, the measure would create a right to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, and abortion care.

Much like Ohio's issue 1, the ballot proposal lists several non-controversial items at the beginning before mentioning abortion at the end.

“This is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single-subject rule,” Russell said, according to KOLO-TV Reno. “I’ve seen a lot of them over the years and in respect to this particular matter, there are too many subjects. Not all of which are functionally related to each other.”

Jason Guinasso with the Coalition for Parents and Children argued in court that the petition also creates an unfunded mandate that would cost Nevada taxpayers. That would certainly be the case if the "reproductive rights" contained in the proposal would require Nevada taxpayers to pay for abortions and other procedures.

If Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom is successful in its appeal, it hopes to put the question to voters on the November 2024 ballot. It will need to collect just over 100,000 signatures by June to do so.