Las Vegas Sun

November 15, 2018

Currently: 59° — Complete forecast

Guest column:

State must stand up for women’s health care

Last month, the Trump administration announced yet another extremist action attempting to take away women’s basic rights and health care.

This latest action would impose new rules that are designed to make it impossible for millions of patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood. Under this rule, doctors, nurses, hospitals and community health centers could no longer refer their patients for safe, legal abortion.

And here’s the real kicker: It would remove the guarantee that people get full and accurate information about health care options from their doctors. For nearly two decades, the law has been clear: health care providers cannot withhold information from you about your pregnancy options. Before this rule, women could trust that when they went to the doctor, they were getting the best medical care and information available. This rule destroys that trust.

As a proud Nevadan who trusts women, it is infuriating to continue to see assaults on basic reproductive freedom from the Trump administration. It’s even more difficult knowing that we could be doing something about it if we had a proactive, pro-choice attorney general.

Since President Donald Trump’s election, we’ve seen unprecedented numbers of Americans, including tens of thousands of Nevadans take to the streets to resist his administration’s vision for America that would take us backwards.

Protesting is an important part of the resistance but it’s not the only tool in our toolbox. What’s also needed is to use all the strength of the attorney general’s office to defend Nevadans’ fundamental rights to safe, accurate, truthful health care information that protects their reproductive freedom and right to choose. As the majority leader in the state Senate, I was proud to co-sponsor legislation in the 2017 session that protected affordable and accessible birth control. This historic bill was the first time in more than 18 years that Nevada updated its birth control laws.

Mere months after the bill was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Trump administration announced it was rolling back the mandate in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers to cover birth control. Immediately, 16 attorneys general challenged the rule, and federal judges throughout the country have already found it to be unconstitutional. Nevada should have been a part of this important resistance, but our state remained silent.

The domestic gag rule announced by Trump proves he won’t back down on his commitment to restrict reproductive freedom. We will need to be more vigilant than ever. Nevada needs a strong attorney general who isn’t afraid to lend our Battle Born spirit to the fight. That’s why I’m proud to partner with NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada and its more than 38,000 members across our state in their fight to protect the ability for all Nevadans to be able to choose if, when and how to be a parent. There are no questions more fundamental to our basic autonomy.

Aaron Ford, of Las Vegas, has served as a state senator since 2012 and has served as both minority and majority leader. He is a candidate for Nevada attorney general.