Nevada's Joe Lombardo on Tuesday became one of the first Republican governors to enshrine protections for out-of-state abortion patients and in-state providers, adding the western swing state to the list of those passing new laws to solidify their status as safe havens for people seeking abortions.
The legislation codifies an existing executive order from former Gov. Steve Sisolak last year — who lost reelection to Lombardo — that bars state agencies from assisting in out-of-state investigations that could lead to the prosecution of abortion patients who travel to Nevada. It also ensures medical boards and commissions that oversee medical licenses do not discipline or disqualify doctors who provide abortions.
Lombardo, who describes himself as pro-life and cites his Catholic faith, said on the campaign trail that he would respect the will of voters who codified abortion rights up to 24 weeks in a 1990 referendum vote. He was the only Republican to defeat a state Democratic incumbent in the last election. He was endorsed by National Right to Life.
Lombardo is only the third Republican governor — following Vermont Gov. Phil Scott and former Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker — to sign a law enshrining protections for abortion.