LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — With the future of abortion in the Supreme Court's hands, 13 Action News continues to look at how this debate affects Nevada.
Yesterday, we explained why Nevada is considered a "safe haven state," meaning the right to abortion is protected by the state constitution. Today, we're looking into the political implications.
Abortion is expected to be heavily debated leading up to Nevada's elections in 2022 and used as a political tool to turn out voters.
At Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, Executive Director Lindsey Harmon advocates on behalf of the patients that Planned Parenthood serves. At Right to Life Nevada, Executive Director Melissa Clement advocates for life from conception to natural death. Needless to say, they fall on opposite ends of the abortion debate.
But they do agree on one thing, that the issue will play a big role in Nevada's upcoming elections.
"I'm looking forward to the next election because I think it will be part of the calculus that people make when they vote," said Clement.
"We know, in the past, that choice has been a motivating factor for people to turn out the vote. And I don't expect that to change in the current climate," said Harmon.
Before every major election, their organizations research each political race and endorse candidates based almost entirely on the issue of abortion. Harmon's goal is to promote politicians who are pro-choice and who will protect women's rights to reproductive care.
"We know it impacts really the continuum of care, so everything from birth control, access and STI testing, to abortion access. So those are all the things that we really watch closely as the election cycle turns on," said Harmon.
But for Clement, the goal is to elect officials who will implement pro-life policies and work towards overturning Nevada's abortion laws.
"We do try and get the word out about who the good candidates are and especially who the bad candidates are. We can all vote pro-life and we can make Nevada a better place," said Clement. "And I think that a majority of people are going to vote for the pro-life candidate," she added.
Some Nevada politicians are already making their allegiances clear. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto, who's up for re-election next year, issued a statement that reads, "The case being argued in front of the Supreme Court today is by far the biggest threat to women’s constitutional right to reproductive freedom in almost three decades, and we have to fight back. Roe v. Wade has established the precedent for over 50 years, and the overwhelming majority of Nevadans and all Americans believe that decisions about whether and when to have a child should be between a woman and her health care providers. We must do everything we can to protect a woman’s right to choose. I’ll continue to fight in the Senate to make sure women can control their lives and their futures."
Adam Laxalt, who's trying to unseat Cortez-Masto, also issued a statement. It reads, "I am - and have always been - unapologetically pro-life. I was proud to stand for the rights of the unborn as Attorney General and I look forward to doing the same as our next United States Senator. Catherine Cortez-Masto and the Democrats are desperate to distract Nevadans from the massive job losses, sky-high inflation, and open border anarchy they have presided over. Hiding behind this issue will not save them from the judgment of Nevada voters."
The only way Nevada's abortion laws could be overturned is through a referendum voted on by the people of Nevada. That's happened twice in the past, and both times Nevadans voted to solidify Roe v. Wade in the Silver State.