Nevada’s elected leaders determined to defend women’s reproductive rights

Christophe De Vargas

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto greets Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and 2-month-old son Case before a new conference on women’s reproductive rights on Friday, September 17, 2021.

The recent birth of the first child of Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro was carefully planned. Every day soon after conception, she took a pregnancy test while waiting for a positive result. It wasn’t until week 5 that she and her husband learned the good news.

Even then, the couple had to wait a little over a month to see a doctor, and additional weeks to perform tests to make sure the pregnancy was healthy, she said.

Women in Texas, under the same circumstances, could not terminate their pregnancy after six weeks of conception due to a law that came into effect on September 1. This law states that any citizen can sue anyone who assists with an abortion, whether or not the woman has been raped or incested, for a possible judgment of at least $ 10,000.

This law, which the majority of the United States Supreme Court decided not to overturn on procedural grounds, raised the alarm among supporters of choice. And it undermines a decades-long precedent for women’s reproductive rights, Cannizzaro and U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said this morning at a press conference in southwest Las Vegas.

“This has the potential to create vigilantes and vigilantes who interfere in the lives of their neighbors, all to prevent women from accessing reproductive health care,” Cortez Masto said, praising the efforts from Nevada to codify Roe v. Wade, a supreme landmark from 1973. Court case that made abortion a constitutional right.

But those rights are under attack, Cortez Masto said. If the Texas case or other similar abortion restriction cases going through federal court systems are upheld by the conservative-dominated Supreme Court, “nothing prevents a Republican-controlled Congress with a Republican-like. White House to pass legislation that continues to roll. safeguard these rights (to abortion) across the country, ”she added.

This month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives would soon vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would protect the right to abortion by creating a right for providers. to provide abortion care and a corresponding right for women to receive such care, without medically unnecessary restrictions.

Cortez Masto, who co-sponsored the bill, said he was certain it would pass in the House, but needed 60 votes in favor in the Senate, with opposing senators able to filibuster , a procedure that the Nevada senator supports.

“If they oppose this, then I want (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell or any Republican who opposes it stand on the Senate floor to tell the women of this country why they oppose it. reproductive rights for women. “

A May poll by the Pew Research Center found that 6 in 10 American adults say “abortion should be legal in all or most cases.”

For now, President Joe Biden’s Justice Department this month asked a Texas federal court for an injunction on the application of its new law while it decides the case. The court is expected to hear the case in early October.

In the past, courts have prevented other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas law differs significantly as it leaves enforcement to private citizens through civil suits rather than criminal prosecutions.

The way Texas law has been drafted leaves a “loophole” for “unconstitutional” law, allowing it to eventually escape court scrutiny, Cannizzaro said.

If Roe v. Wade and other landmark Supreme Court decisions on reproductive rights were overturned, with half of American women expected to travel an average of 279 miles to their nearest abortion provider, Cortez Masto said. The current distance is around 25 miles, she added.

Texas, where abortion clinics comply with the new law, is now seeing some women travel to other states for the procedure, said Adrienne Mansanares, experiment manager at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains.

Mansanares spoke of “very scared patients,” including at least one woman who jumped on a plane to Las Vegas for a procedure immediately after the ban went into effect in Texas – one of many others to come, she noted.

But “it’s not sustainable,” she said. “This Texas ban cannot go on any longer; it will exhaust our system, our population and our ability to provide care.

Cortez Masto said anti-abortion extremists have worked for decades to undermine the constitutional right to reproductive rights, and “they are on the verge of success.”

“We can’t let a dedicated minority take this right away from the rest of us,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About Susan Dailey


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