Nevada removes abortion restrictions amid wave of nationwide bans

Critics say decades-old policies deter women from seeking access to reproductive health options

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 22 May 2019 17:34
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Nevada has passed comprehensive legislation to remove a series of restrictive statewide abortion guidelines, defying a wave of newly-imposed limits and bans towards women’s reproductive health across the country.

The new measure, which passed 27-13 in the state Assembly on Tuesday, will overturn decades-old policies requiring physicians to determine a woman’s age and marital status prior to performing an abortion.

Supplying medication to induce an abortion without prior advice from a doctor will also be decriminalized under the new bill. Women will also no longer have to be told about “physical and emotional implications” that could possibly result from having an abortion — a policy critics have said was implemented to effectively deter women from ever receiving the procedure.

While one of the nation’s most restrictive laws was passed recently in Alabama — with only male politicians voting in favour of the bill — Nevada’s majority-female state legislature passed the measure mostly along party lines, according to NPR.

“When the rest of the country may feel hopeless, may feel bleak, they should look to Nevada as the shining beacon that we are for women's rights," Democratic Senator Yvanna Cancela reportedly said in a statement outside of the Nevada legislature prior to the vote being held.

The easing of abortion restrictions in Nevada arrived as states like Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Kentucky, North Dakota and Mississippi have all passed opposite measures in recent years, with most of them going into effect in 2019.

Georgia’s latest bill will ban abortions at the first detection of a heartbeat, which often occurs before many women even learn they are pregnant.

Alabama’s recent law has sparked national outrage as it flew directly in the face of constitutional law and the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v Wade.

The state’s conservative politicians understood that, effectively designing the law to yield challenges that could result in a case reaching the Supreme Court.

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“To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God,” Republican Governor Kay Ivey said in a statement while signing the bill on Wednesday.

A new poll showed the vast majority of Americans support providing choice in women's reproductive health, with 82 per cent saying abortion should be legal in cases of rape an incest. That exception was not included in the Alabama law. That polling, released by Quinnipiac this week, includes 68 per cent of Republicans.

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