People pray outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3, 2022 in Washington.
Jose Luis Magana/AP
Correction: This story was updated to correct attribution to a statement from the campaign of U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
RENO — Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat who supports abortion rights, said Tuesday the state's residents are among those who wouldn’t immediately be affected by a Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. That's because voters passed a referendum in 1990 guaranteeing a right to a legal abortion until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
But Ford said he shared concerns voiced by President Joe Biden and others that other privacy rights could be at risk if the justices follow through, including same-sex marriage and birth control.
Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, an anti-abortion Republican seeking the GOP nomination to try to unseat Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in November, praised the reasoning in the draft opinion.
“If the leaked decision reflects the Supreme Court’s ultimate decision, it would constitute an historic victory for the sanctity of life and the principles of democratic self-determination,” he said in a statement.
But in that same statement, he conceded the issue has already been settled in Nevada.
“The people of Nevada have already voted to make abortion rights legal in our state and so, no matter the court’s ultimate decision on Roe, it is currently settled law in our state,” he said.
Nearly two-thirds of Nevadans voted to uphold the state’s abortion statutes that allows a physician to perform the procedure within the first 24 weeks of a pregnancy. And since it was a referendum, the law cannot be repealed, amended or changed in any way except by another General Election vote.
Other reactions Tuesday:
• U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen said if true, the decision “would have dire consequences for women’s health and reproductive freedoms across the country. These unprecedented rigid and harmful attacks on women’s rights cannot go unanswered.”
• U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford: “While this decision is not final, it would be an outrageous break with 50 years of precedent.”
He pointed to the 1990 vote to protect a woman’s right to choose that was supported by nearly two-thirds of voters.
“But without federal protections, many states will deny women this right. We cannot allow that to happen.”
• Gov. Steve Sisolak described the leaked report as, “alarming.” He pointed out that the state has implemented legislation lowering barriers to reproductive health and strengthening reproductive freedoms including appropriating $6 million for family planning in 2019, signing legislation to allow women to receive birth control directly from a pharmacy and expanding access to emergency contraception for sexual assault survivors.
U.S. Rep. Susie Lee called on fellow Democrats to “build a strong Democratic coalition that protects abortion rights — beyond our slim majorities in the House and Senate.” That, she said, means codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law
This Supreme Court decision, she said, will be the beginning of the Supreme Court curtailing individual rights, pointing out that Justice Alito has also questioned the case that legalized same-sex marriage.
• U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto campaign spokesman Josh Marcus-Blank said Adam Laxalt wants Roe v. Wade overturned as a step to strip away a woman’s right to choose nationwide.
Marcus-Blank said Laxalt would be an automatic vote for a federal ban on abortion nationwide, “taking away this fundamental freedom and punishing women for seeking reproductive care.”
Cortez Masto has said in the past that overturning Roe v. Wade would cause major injury to women’s rights and deny them reproductive care.