For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 23, 2021
Heller would turn back the clock on reproductive freedom in Nevada as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade
Carson City, NV — This week, anti-choice extremist Dean Heller announced his bid for governor of Nevada. Heller is running to unseat Governor Steve Sisolak in 2022, a governor who has consistently made clear his commitment to reproductive freedom, including by signing the Trust Nevada Women Act into law. Heller has a long history of opposing reproductive freedom, despite polls consistently showing Nevadans support the right to abortion by significant margins.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Southwest Regional Director Caroline Mello Roberson released the following statement:
“Dean Heller has a long record of opposing reproductive freedom, but an overwhelming majority of Nevadans support the right to abortion and we are confident voters will ensure that his wildly anti-choice agenda never reaches the governor’s office. NARAL Pro-Choice America and our more than 44,000 members in Nevada helped kick Heller out of the U.S. Senate in 2018, and we will fight to ensure our elected leaders continue to champion and safeguard reproductive freedom in the Silver State. Heller’s anti-choice agenda is at odds with the will of the people.”
Heller used his campaign announcement on Monday to confirm that he will pursue “the most conservative” anti-choice laws enacted in the state, in direct rejection of the values affirmed by a majority of Nevadans that codified our right to abortion in our state statute via a ballot referendum 1990 approved by 63.5% of Nevada voters. Heller stated he wants to ban abortion after six weeks, before many know they are pregnant, which goes against protections affirmed by Nevadans and furthermore, requires their approval of any changes are made. Heller recently told the media, “I like what Texas did,” in passing one of the most draconian abortion bans in the country (SB 8), which deputizes vigilantes to sue anyone who “aids and abets” a pregnant person seeking abortion care after about six weeks of pregnancy. As a U.S. Senator, Heller voted with former President Trump 90% of the time and has consistently scored low on NARAL’s Congressional Record on Choice.
Heller’s anti-choice candidacy for governor of Nevada comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade—on December 1. Heller is on the record saying he had “no reservations” about confirming anti-choice Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the bench, calling him “exceptionally qualified” and referring to sexual assault allegations against him as “a hiccup.”
This year, over 90 restrictions on abortion access have been enacted at the state level, making it the worst year for abortion rights since Roe was decided. In contrast, Gov. Sisolak has signed bills to decriminalize abortion, expand access to family planning funding, and provide emergency contraception to survivors of sexual assault in Nevada emergency rooms—showing a continued commitment to reproductive freedom.
In 2019, the Nevada legislature passed the Trust Nevada Women Act, one of the country’s most significant proactive laws on reproductive freedom, which Gov. Sisolak signed into law. The act marked a historic move by the state to protect and uphold the reproductive freedom of Nevadans. As anti-choice state lawmakers have already introduced, advanced, or passed more than 330 state bills attacking abortion access in 2021, Nevada plays a key role in defending access to abortion care.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, paid family leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support safe, legal abortion.