Nevada judge rules state Equal Rights Amendment forces Medicaid to fund abortions – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) — Clark County District Court Judge Erika Ballou in Nevada ruled Tuesday that the state’s Medicaid program must subsidize abortions, accepting an argument that a state-level version of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) Nevada enacted in 2022 mandates it.

The Nevada Independent reports that the state chapter of the far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had sued the state on behalf of the abortion group Silver State Hope Fund, challenging Nevada’s exclusion of abortion “services” from its state Medicaid program.

The suit claimed that such an exclusion violated the state ERA, which states that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by this State or any of its political subdivisions on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, ancestry or national origin.” While much of this language sounds innocuous on its face, it mirrors that of the national ERA, a longtime unsuccessful project to amend the U.S. Constitution with language that critics have long argued would be abused to invent “rights” to abortion and more.

Nevada allows abortion up to 24 weeks due to a 1990 referendum. But the ACLU alleged that “if you have a right [sic] to an abortion, but you don’t have the financial means to get one when you need one, especially when it’s necessary for your medical health, then it’s almost as if you don’t have the right [sic] at all. We’re making sure that the right [sic] of abortion in the state of Nevada is not just letters on a page.”

Ballou sided with the ACLU without elaboration, in the process validating longtime conservative fears about what the ERA would actually do.

“This lawsuit is a clear example of the failure of our legislative system and the amendment process,” responded Nevada Right to Life executive director Melissa Clement. “It diverts precious Medicaid funds—intended for life-saving and extending medical interventions—to fund the life-ending procedure of abortion. This is a tragic misallocation of resources that betrays the trust of Nevada citizens.”

“This decision underscores the importance of voting NO on upcoming ballot measures that could allow judges to make sweeping changes to our laws without clear mandate from the voters,” she added. “It is crucial that the power to shape our state’s policies remains directly in the hands of its citizens, rather than being subject to the unpredictable interpretations of a few.”

Last fall, another Nevada judge tossed a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have established a state-level “right” to abortion, determining it violated the legal requirement for potential amendments to only cover one subject at a time. But state ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments remain a major challenge for the pro-life movement.

Since 2022, the abortion lobby has had great success with such amendments, which if enacted effectively insulate abortion-on-demand from future state legislation and can only be overridden by a federal abortion ban, prompting much conversation among pro-lifers about the need to develop new strategies to protect life at the ballot box. In the past two years, pro-lifers have either failed to enact pro-life amendments or stop pro-abortion ones in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont, and Ohio. This year there are a total of three abortion-related ballot initiatives slated for the November elections, with as many as 14 more that could be approved for consideration as well.

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