Anti-abortion activists on South McCarran Boulevard protest Roe v. Wade.
Anti-abortion activists on South McCarran Boulevard protest Roe v. Wade. Photo: D. Brian Burghart/RN&R archives

After other states banned or restricted abortions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s gutting of the Roe v. Wade decision, Nevada has seen a major increase in abortion procedures.

The Society of Family Planning recently reported a 21% increase in abortions in the Silver State since the court’s ruling in June. The national report compared procedures in April 2022 (1,030) with the number in August (1,250), according to the report.

Nationally, the number of abortions decreased by 6% during the same period, the report noted.

The right to an abortion is guaranteed in Nevada up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy, thanks to a state law twice approved by voters. Family-planning advocates say the state’s increase in procedures can be traced to women traveling to Nevada from states that restrict abortions.

Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada, an advocacy group, told the Las Vegas Sun in November that about half of its patients are now coming from outside the state. Lindsey Harmon, the group’s executive director, told the Las Vegas Sun that “there’s just a lot of fear out there with patients, and they’re looking for alternative methods or alternative locations to serve them in a safe environment.”

On June 24, in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the high court overturned Roe v. Wade, which since 1973 guaranteed access to abortion in all U.S. states up until fetal viability. When the decision was announced, some states reactivated laws that were already on the books but not enforced because of Roe, or quickly passed abortion bans or severe restrictions on the procedure.

The Society for Family Planning’s report documented that the greatest decline in abortions occurred in the states with “the greatest structural and social inequities in terms of maternal morbidity and mortality and poverty.” The report noted that, overall, “people of color and people working to make ends meet have been impacted the most” by the court’s ruling.

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