A Nevada judge ruled against a “misleading” petition to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution Wednesday, claiming that it violates the “single subject rule.”
In October, the Coalition for Parents and Children (CPC) PAC filed a lawsuit against a petition by Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom (NRF) to put an amendment on the ballot that protects access to abortion and birth control, and prenatal and postpartum care, according to The Hill. Carson City District Court Judge James Russell said that he was dismissing the petition because it did not focus on just abortion and, therefore, violated the “single subject rule,” according to the ruling. (RELATED: Red State Supreme Court Deals Blow To Republicans In Crucial Abortion Ballot Case)
“This Court agrees with Plaintiffs that the Petition embraces a multitude of subjects that amount to logrolling,” Russell wrote. “Subsection 1, alone, embraces the following subjects: prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, abortion care, management of a miscarriage, and infertility care … Thus, it is improper to characterize these broad categories as a ‘single subject’ because there is no explanation as to how these provisions are functionally related.”
Abortion is currently legal in Nevada up to 24 weeks unless a doctor determines that it would be necessary to preserve the “life or health of the pregnant person,” according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Several states have introduced language for abortion amendments following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
Nevada’s petition, however, would have barred the state from banning abortion until after viability but could not prevent doctors from performing an abortion after that point if they believed it would “protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual.” NRF’s petition also states that the state has no right to interfere with “all matters relating to pregnancy, including, without limitation, prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, birth control, vasectomy, tubal ligation, abortion, abortion care, management of a miscarriage and infertility care.”
CPC argued in its lawsuit that including all of these rights and not focusing on just abortion was a direct violation of Nevada’s ballot requirements to keep petitions limited to one subject, according to court documents.
“This is the first successful legal challenge of this type of initiative in the country,” Jason Guinasso, attorney for CPC, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The initiative violates Nevada law because it encompasses more than a single subject, is grossly misleading due, in part, to the ambiguity of what ‘reproductive freedom’ is purported to be and the abyss of subjects this proposed right encompasses.”
Russell further noted that the petition was misleading because the defendants did not clearly explain the legal meaning of “equality,” which was also listed as a supposed right.
“While the right to ‘equal protection’ is well established in American jurisprudence, it is unclear what the term ‘equality’ means legally,” Russell wrote, according to court documents. “Given the breadth of this petition, it is unclear how the Intervenor-Defendants could describe it accurately in 200 words, which further supports this Court’s conclusion that the Petition fails to embrace a single subject.”
NRF’s attorneys did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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