Physicians will no longer be required to tell a pregnant woman about the “emotional implications” of an abortion under a law signed by Nevada’s Democratic governor. Under the bill, pregnant women have the “fundamental right” to have an abortion and a “fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights.”
Gov. Steve Sisolak signed the measure on Friday. The legislation also repeals a requirement that physicians document a pregnant woman’s marital status and removes a criminal penalty for anyone who supplies a woman with medication to induce an abortion without the advice of a physician.
#SB179, the Trust Nevada Women Act, repeals outdated criminal penalties for abortion and aligns antiquated informed consent laws with today’s medical standards. Congratulations to @YvannaCancela @NaralNv and all who worked hard on this legislation! (2/3) pic.twitter.com/refwjIjThf
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) May 31, 2019
The repealed criminal statute extended to anyone who uses an “instrument” to terminate a pregnancy without the advice of a physician.
Sisolak’s signature bucks a national trend toward restrictive abortion laws.
The governor expressed disappointed by those laws in other states, but says the Nevada bill reaffirms the state’s commitment to protecting reproductive freedom.
Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II released the following statement:
“One thing I’ve always known about Nevada women is they get things done. So it’s no surprise that in the first ever female-majority legislature, our state is stepping up as others around the country are limiting women’s reproductive rights. The Trust Nevada Women Act is a major achievement in ending antiquated laws and protecting a woman’s right to choose. A woman shouldn’t be faced with scare tactics nor should the threat of penalties exist when making a decision this serious. I’m grateful to our Democratic leadership and the activists who made their voices heard across Nevada. This legislation wouldn’t have been a reality without their hard work and dedication.”
The Nevada vote comes as measures severely restricting abortion rights have advanced elsewhere in the U.S. Alabama has been in the spotlight for recently enacting the nation’s most sweeping curtailment of such rights, a law that bans abortions in all cases except when a pregnant woman’s life is endangered.
Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Louisiana and Missouri are among the other states that have approved new laws or are considering ones that significantly limit legal abortions.
On the flip side, lawmakers in Illinois and Maine seek to pass legislation that would further protect access to abortion.
Nevada made history this year when its new legislature convened as the first in the U.S. in which a majority of its members are women. That’s in sharp contrast to Alabama, where all the votes that passed the near-total ban on abortion were cast by men. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed the bill into law last week.
On Tuesday, abortion rights activists participated in hundreds of demonstrations nationwide as part of the National Day of Action to Stop the Bans, in response to the escalating legislative efforts to limit abortion rights.