Nevada Court Will Block State Ban on Medicaid Coverage for Abortion

Affiliate: ACLU of Nevada
March 19, 2024 5:00 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Nevada
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

LAS VEGAS — The Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County indicated today that it would issue an order directing the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services to remove the abortion coverage ban from the state’s Medicaid program in response to a case brought by Silver State Hope Fund, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Nevada. The case, Silver State Hope Fund v. Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, was filed after Nevada voters passed an Equal Rights Amendment into the state constitution in 2022 that prohibited sex-based discrimination, including in accessing essential health care like abortion.

Statement from Erin Bilbray-Kohn, executive director, Silver State Hope Fund:
“The Silver State Hope Fund remains committed to protecting women in Nevada who seek abortion care. When the United States Supreme Court decided to discard the long-running precedent in Roe v. Wade, we stepped up, devoting our time, energy, and limited resources to ensuring those who face financial challenges aren’t limited in their healthcare options. We are grateful to the ACLU and to Judge Ballou for today’s historic decision.”

Statement from Rebecca Chan, staff attorney, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project:
“We are relieved that the court correctly recognized the severe harms of Nevada’s ban on Medicaid coverage for abortion, which directly violates the recently passed state Equal Rights Amendment. For too long, Nevada’s coverage ban forced pregnant people to bear the financial burden of paying out of pocket for care, seek help from abortion funds and other practical support organizations, or suffer through the life-altering impacts of carrying a pregnancy against their will. That will no longer be the cruel reality Nevadans who rely on Medicaid must face. Every person, regardless of their income level or insurance source, deserves the power to make personal medical decisions during pregnancy, including abortion.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, Nevadans overwhelmingly adopted an Equal Rights Amendment to the state constitution, ensuring equality under the law regardless of race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and more. The lawsuit brought by Silver State Hope Fund — a Nevada nonprofit that offers financial assistance to help people pay for abortion, as well as travel, lodging, and childcare to ensure they can access care — challenges the state’s Medicaid coverage ban as a violation of Nevada’s Equal Rights Amendment. The majority of Silver State’s clients have incomes that qualify for Medicaid.

The mission of Nevada’s Medicaid program is to ensure equal access to health care by providing quality medical care for low-income individuals and families who otherwise may not be able to afford health care. Despite that mission, the program specifically denies coverage for abortion — and so the majority of Silver State Hope Fund’s clients cannot get full coverage for their reproductive health care needs. The abortion coverage ban reinforces sex-based inequalities by denying only those who can become pregnant the ability to make decisions about their health care options and reproductive futures.

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release