State Equal Rights Amendment provides huge win for abortion access in Nevada

The Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County has overturned the Medicaid abortion coverage ban in Nevada using the state’s Equal Rights Amendment. Following the overturning of Roe v Wade in 2022, the people of Nevada overwhelmingly voted for adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the state’s constitution. The lawsuit challenging the coverage ban was filed by the Silver State Hope Fund and represented by the ACLU, who cited the state’s ERA as its leading legal argument. 

The Silver Spring Hope Fund is a Nevada based nonprofit that provides financial aid to help low-income individuals pay for abortion care. Medicaid is meant to help low income people achieve equal access to quality healthcare. However, the abortion coverage ban denied anyone who relied on Medicaid from receiving abortion funding, except in cases of rape or incest or life-threatening health complications. Instead, they had to turn to organizations like the Silver Spring Hope Fund to fund their treatment.  

The state ERA played a massive role in this win for reproductive health. The judge on the case overturned the ban on the basis of it being a sex driven inequality. There has never been a clearer reason why we must enshrine the ERA in the United States Constitution. It is the single most important tool at our disposal to ensure that women’s rights are protected, enforced, and taken seriously.  

The grassroots fight for equality in Nevada has been pushed forward by State Senator Patricia Spearman, who also led the successful movement to ratify the federal ERA in 2017. The state ratified the federal ERA in 2017, thanks to groups such as NOW and Emerge Nevada, who trained Democratic candidates to run for office. In 2018, Nevada became the first state to have a majority of women elected to the state legislature — a testament to the organizing power of women and feminists throughout the state.

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