While Republicans in state legislatures across the country are passing severe restrictions on reproductive rights, Republicans in Nevada have voted to drop opposition to abortion from the state party’s official platform.
According to reporting by the Reno Gazette-Journal, the adoption of the new platform, with the anti-abortion language removed, by an overwhelming vote was tempered by a battle that took place over whether the party should endorse candidates for elected office in the state. Currently, delegates are allowed to vote to endorse Republican candidates, and those who receive a majority of the vote receive the state party’s endorsement. A motion to end this process failed by a 205-271 vote. The debate split the party between establishment Republicans, who supported the process, and grassroots activists, who wanted the process to end to prevent party bosses from undermining more conservative candidates.
State party chair Michael McDonald told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the vote was about “inclusion, not exclusion.” Dave Hockaday, a member of the committee that drafted the party platform, said the change could help the party back out of people’s personal lives. “We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact,” said Hockaday.
The Nevada Republican Party platform now stands in stark contrast to the national Republican Party platform adopted at the 2012 Republican National Convention, which includes support for “a human life amendment” to the Constitution that would criminalize abortion and many forms of contraception, in vitro fertilization, and treatment of pregnant women with life-threatening conditions such as cancer.
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Nevada has several laws on the books supporting reproductive rights, including one that guarantees women access to abortion care and other reproductive health-care services. However, Nevada does restrict low-income women’s access to abortion care, allowing publicly funded abortion only in cases in which the life of a pregnant woman is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
The Nevada state legislature, which is controlled by Democrats (a Republican, Brian Sondoval, currently serves as governor), is not in session. During the 2013 legislative session, while Republican-controlled state legislatures were passing record numbers of anti-choice laws and Republicans across the country introduced hundreds of anti-choice bills, not a single anti-choice bill was introduced in Nevada.