In the wake of the Supreme Court’s monumental decision on June 24, 2022, to overturn Roe vs. Wade, many states have found themselves navigating through a newly altered legal landscape regarding abortion rights. This ruling eliminated the federal constitutional right to an abortion, leaving individual states with the power to regulate the procedure within their jurisdictions. However, what does this mean for residents of Nevada? ATAC LAW is here to provide clarity on Nevada’s stance on abortion laws, especially focusing on NRS 201.120 – the statute defining illegal abortions within the state.

NRS 201.120 | What Changes Have Been Made to the Legality of Abortion in Nevada?

Are Abortion Procedures Legal in Nevada?

In the Silver State, the services of a qualified medical doctor are legally required to terminate a pregnancy up until 24 weeks post-fertilization. Beyond this period, an abortion can only be legally performed if the procedure is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.

Here are some examples of practices that would be considered illegal under Nevada’s laws:

  • If a woman self-administers abortive medication, such as RU486 (Mifepristone), that she acquired without proper medical supervision or through illicit means.
  • When an unlicensed individual, perhaps known as a “healer,” employs herbal concoctions or other non-medical methods in an attempt to induce an abortion.
  • In scenarios where a non-medical professional, like a partner or acquaintance, attempts to perform an abortion using dangerous and makeshift methods, such as a wire hanger, which can have dire consequences.

The statute NRS 201.120 deals with the legal aspect of unlawful abortions and ascertains penalties not only for those who undergo such procedures but also for individuals who assist in facilitating them. It is crucial to note that the legality is unaffected by the outcome, whether the pregnancy is taken to full term or terminated. Additionally, the fact that a woman seeking an illegal abortion is not actually pregnant does not exempt her or her accomplices from legal repercussions.

The act of attempting to procure an abortion without the involvement of a licensed physician is strictly prohibited by law. This underscores the importance of following legal and safe channels when considering pregnancy termination options within Nevada.

Can You Legally Travel to Nevada for an Abortion?
Traveling to Nevada to obtain an abortion is not illegal. With abortion remaining lawful within the state, Nevada is anticipated to serve as a refuge for individuals seeking these services from states where abortion is prohibited.

How Does the Overturning of Roe v. Wade Impact Abortion Rights in Nevada?

On June 24, 2022, the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade led to the removal of the federal constitutional protection of abortion rights. This historic ruling ushered in a wave of uncertainty across many states. In contrast to some states that had laws automatically restricting abortion with the overturning of Roe, Nevada stands apart. The state does not possess a “trigger law” that would ban abortion following the reversal of Roe. Hence, abortions that adhere to Nevada’s state regulations continue to be lawful.

The right to abortion in Nevada was solidified directly by its citizens in 1990 through a statewide referendum. This means that abortion rights are entrenched in state law, creating a robust safeguard. The only pathway to altering these abortion rights would be through another direct referendum by the electorate, a scenario that currently appears to be implausible.

What Are the Legal Consequences of Unlawful Abortions in Nevada?

In Nevada, the legal ramifications for performing or engaging in illegal abortion practices are quite severe, underscoring the state’s commitment to regulating these procedures within the bounds of the law. Illegal abortions are equated with voluntary manslaughter under Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) 200.050, highlighting the gravity of such actions.

Illegal abortion falls under the designation of a Category B felony within the state, which comes with significant penalties, including:

  • A prison sentence ranging from 1 to 10 years in the Nevada State Prison system.
  • Potential fines reaching up to $10,000, at the discretion of the presiding judge.

Moreover, Nevada law addresses other related offenses as gross misdemeanors, penalizing individuals who:

  • Manufacture, sell, or distribute any instrument or substance intended to cause a miscarriage.
  • Conceal the birth of a child by unlawfully disposing of its body.
  • Promote or advertise services, substances, or devices meant to induce a miscarriage or result in a premature birth.

The penalties associated with gross misdemeanors further emphasize the legal consequences of such actions:

  • Incarceration for up to 364 days in a county jail, and/or
  • Fines up to $2,000.

The Broader Impact of Illegal Abortion Practices
Beyond the legal consequences, it’s crucial to consider the health implications of seeking or providing illegal abortions. Such acts not only risk severe legal penalties but also pose significant dangers to the health and welfare of those involved. Illegal abortions can lead to fatal outcomes for the woman and cause permanent harm or injuries to the fetus in cases where it survives.

Can Illegal Abortion Affect Immigration Status?
Non-citizens facing charges for illegal abortion could be at risk of deportation. However, with skilled legal representation, it might be possible to negotiate reduced charges with the prosecution, potentially preventing removal from the U.S.

What Defenses Can Be Used Against Illegal Abortion Charges in Nevada?

In the realm of legal defense against charges of illegal abortion, a variety of strategies can be employed. Here are three pivotal defenses:

1. Counteracting False Accusations
Instances where individuals are falsely accused of conducting an illegal abortion are not uncommon. For example, accusations can stem from a partner’s discontent about the abortion decision or false allegations born out of regret.

Defense lawyers diligently gather concrete evidence, such as textual exchanges, voicemails, or witness testimonies, to unveil the accuser’s true intentions. Demonstrating these motivations might compel the District Attorney (D.A.) to reconsider the validity of the charges.

2. Challenging Entrapment Scenarios
There are occasions where undercover officers target those suspected of providing or seeking abortion services clandestinely. However, enticement to commit an illegal act by law enforcement — known as entrapment — is unlawful if the individual had no initial inclination to commit the crime.

Proving that police actions constituted entrapment can lead to dismissal of the charges, particularly when it’s demonstrated that the accused was not predisposed to break the law.

3. Addressing Police Misconduct
Lawful searches by police require probable cause, a genuine reason to believe a crime was committed. Defense attorneys can challenge the legality of a search lacking probable cause through a motion to suppress.

This legal request urges the court to exclude any evidence obtained during the unlawful search. Success in this argument can result in dropping the case due to insufficient evidence.

A critical aspect of the legal process is the prosecution’s obligation to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Effective defense strategies aim to instill this doubt, thereby safeguarding against wrongful convictions in illegal abortion cases.

Is It Possible to Seal a Record of Illegal Abortion Charges?

Yes, individuals can seal records of an illegal abortion conviction 10 years after the case concludes. If the charges are dropped, one can immediately request to seal the record.

For further legal assistance and to discuss your case with an expert, don’t hesitate to contact ATAC LAW.