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‘No one should be punished’: Nevada adds abortion protection for out-of-state patients

Updated June 30, 2022 - 10:55 am

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an executive order Tuesday ensuring more protections for out-of-state patients traveling to Nevada for abortions and for health care providers administering them.

The move comes days after Sisolak reaffirmed his commitment to protecting abortion rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, which ended federal protections for abortion and gave the authority to regulate them back to the states.

Under the governor’s order, no Nevada agency can provide information or use resources to help outside authorities in investigating people for receiving or providing abortions in the state.

“Reproductive health care is a basic human right,” Sisolak wrote in a statement accompanying the order. “We are committed to ensuring safe access to abortions for women seeking refuge from the restrictive laws in their state.”

The reversal of Roe v. Wade is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half of states across the country. Nevada is expecting to see an influx of patients from neighboring states such as Arizona, Idaho and Utah that are poised to further restrict abortions or ban them outright.

On Friday, nearly all abortion clinics in Arizona, including all Planned Parenthood locations in the state, had stopped providing abortions.

The governor’s order will also protect health care providers from being disciplined by state medical boards for providing reproductive health care services such as abortion. The governor’s office will decline arrest warrants from other states for people who access abortion services in Nevada.

“No one should be punished for receiving or providing necessary medical care, including abortions, contraception and other reproductive health care services,” Sisolak wrote on Tuesday. “As other states impose penalties for these services, (Nevada) is committed to protecting those who travel here for their health.”

Nevada law

Nevada allows abortions up to 24 weeks, with exceptions for later in the pregnancy if the health of the mother is threatened, a right that was codified into state law more than three decades ago.

But a federal ban on abortion would supersede Nevada’s law, and Sisolak said Friday that other restrictive abortion policies such as mandatory waiting periods or mandated counseling could still be implemented in the state.

“That’s just something that we are vehemently opposed to, and we’ll do everything we can to fight for the rights of women along the way,” Sisolak said last week.

On Tuesday, Sisolak, who is running for re-election in November, reiterated Nevadans’ right to abortion.

“The right to abortion is codified in Nevada law — and as long as I’m governor, we will continue to work hard to protect that right and expand safe and equitable access to reproductive health care,” he said.

Contact Lorraine Longhi at 480-243-4086 or llonghi@reviewjournal.com. Follow her @lolonghi on Twitter.

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