LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The battle over abortion is back in the national spotlight. The Supreme Court is hearing a case centering around a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
If the justices vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, it's likely abortion would quickly become illegal or severely restricted in at least 22 more states. Nevada is not one of them because the state's constitution protects the right to abortion, but pro choice advocates fear the ruling could make it more difficult to get an abortion in the Silver State.
Lindsey Harmon is the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada. Since Texas recently outlawed abortion after six weeks, Harmon says nearby "safe haven states," including Nevada, have seen an increase in women leaving Texas seeking abortion services.
"We've seen a 12-fold increase in the number of patients that are coming from Texas alone. So we anticipate, should other bans be put in place, that those numbers would just continue to increase," said Harmon.
Harmon is closely watching the Supreme Court case Dobbs V. Jackson Women's Health. If the justices vote to overturn Roe V. Wade, she expects the number of out-of-state abortion seekers will increase exponentially. If that happens, she fears it will be harder to get care in Nevada, and women in more restrictive states will be less likely to seek abortion services.
"We know that these restrictions in other states impact folks that already have systemic barriers to access to care, so communities of color, LGBTQ folks, people with low incomes, young people, people with geographic limitations," said Harmon. "Planned parenthood right now is open. The health centers are prepared to serve those patients. But this is a very serious issue for a lot of the states that already have trigger or copycat bans on the books that are going to go dark should Roe v. Wade be overturned," Harmon added.
"It was it was definitely an exciting day because it was the first time that the unborn have had a fair and clear hearing in front of the supreme court in close to three decades," said Melissa Clement, the Executive Director of Nevada Right to Life, about today's Supreme Court hearing.
Clement doesn't deny that overturning Roe v. Wade would lead to more out of state abortions. She just believes individual states should have the right to decide whether to allow abortion at all.
"It's putting power back where it should be. The people should decide. And I think once the people in Nevada have a chance to decide whether or not an unborn child who can feel pain should be protected or not, I believe the majority of Nevada will be with me saying that an innocent life should be protected," said Clement.
It's likely the Supreme Court won't issue a ruling in this case until the spring.