(The Center Square) - Nevada is facing a lawsuit that aims to do away with the state's ban on Medicaid coverage for abortion.
The lawsuit, filed in Clark County by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Silver State Hope Fund, a nonprofit that helps people pay for abortions, asks "to remove the exclusion of abortion from Medicaid coverage from the Medicaid Services Manual and order that abortion care is eligible for reimbursement under the Nevada Medicaid program."
Nevada is among 34 states that follow federal Hyde Amendment standards from the 1970s that say states cannot use federal Medicaid dollars to pay for abortions, the only exceptions being for rape, incest, or life of the mother.
Silver State Hope Fund said in a press release the policy goes against Nevada's newly ratified Equal Rights Amendment, which says individuals cannot be denied care based on sex. Silver State Vice President and Acting Executive Director Erin Bilbray-Kohn added that every person "deserves dignified access to health care, including abortion care."
"For too long, women and people who need access to abortion have been denied coverage just because they get their insurance from the state's Medicaid program," Bilbray-Kohn said. "Nevada's Medicaid policy has forced organizations like Silver State Hope Fund to step in where the state has failed to provide funding to pregnant Nevadans to cover abortion-related costs, but this shouldn't be how the system works."
"Seventeen states cover abortion care in their Medicaid programs, and under our state's Equal Rights Amendment, Nevada needs to do the same," said West Juhl, director of communications and campaigns at ACLU of Nevada.