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Laxalt supported Roe v. Wade's reversal and supports letting states decide what restrictions to put on abortions.
In response to the Roe reversal, some states have passed bans with few if any exceptions for the procedure. But we found no examples of Laxalt stating support for laws banning abortions with no exceptions.
In a toss-up race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate, Democrats attacked Nevada Republican Adam Laxalt for supporting "zero exceptions" in abortion laws.
Laxalt, the state’s former attorney general, is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. One GOP win in the Nov. 8 elections could give Republicans control of the Senate.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ran an ad on Facebook and Instagram about the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision reversing Roe v. Wade. The ad’s text says:
"After Roe was overturned, the rights of millions of women were taken away. And Adam Laxalt called that a ‘historic victory.’
"He’d let Nevada and other states ban abortion with zero exceptions. He’s not for us."
Laxalt supported the Supreme Court’s June 24 decision that reversed a nearly half-century of precedent guaranteeing the constitutional right to an abortion. Roe’s overturning allowed states to set their own abortion restrictions.
But we found no instances in which Laxalt stated support for banning abortion with no exceptions. In Nevada, Laxalt said he would support a referendum that shortened the state’s abortion cutoff to 13 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and the mother’s health.
In the months since the court overturned Roe, most abortions are banned in at least 13 states, according to tracking by The New York Times. The bans in nine states — Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — have no exceptions for rape or incest; Mississippi has an exception for rape but not incest.
Other states have passed bans with gestational limits of six, 15 or 20 weeks, for example. Most of these measures do allow for one exception: the life or health of the mother.
To back its claim about Laxalt supporting "zero exceptions," the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pointed to Laxalt’s support for overturning Roe and for letting states regulate abortion.
In May, Laxalt said in an interview that Roe was "wrongly decided" and "so, for it to be returned to the states is an important process."
In June, before the court’s ruling, Laxalt went further, saying:
"I’m a constitutional conservative lawyer, and Roe v. Wade was always a joke. It was a total, complete invention … It has created decades and decades of political turmoil, not to mention the most important thing, that it is allowed across the country. So, I think its return back to the states is important."
Those comments were made to pastors and faith leaders, according to a report from the Nevada Independent, which included an audio clip of Laxalt’s remarks.
On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, Laxalt released a statement calling the decision "a historic victory for the sanctity of life and the principles of democratic self-determination." He said the responsibility for legislating on abortion returns to "its rightful owners: the American people and their elected representatives."
Laxalt’s campaign provided no information in response to our request to comment for this fact-check.
As for what states should do, Laxalt has sent mixed messages.
In his statement on the Roe ruling, Laxalt did not call for any change in Nevada’s abortion law, which allows abortion through 24 weeks of pregnancy and after 24 weeks, if it is to preserve the woman’s life or health. He said in the statement, "The people of Nevada have already voted to make abortion rights legal in our state, and the court’s decision on Roe doesn’t change settled law."
But in a May interview, when a reporter asked Laxalt whether he would support holding a referendum asking Nevada voters to restrict abortion after 13 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for physical health, rape and incest, Laxalt said he would, according to the article.
In August, the Reno Gazette-Journal published an opinion column by Laxalt on his positions on abortion. He said he would support a referendum limiting abortion to pregnancy’s first 13 weeks, but didn’t mention exceptions. He said he would not favor a national abortion ban, because he supports letting states regulate abortion.
But we found no Laxalt statements calling for state abortion bans with no exceptions.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee claimed that Laxalt "would let Nevada and other states ban abortion with zero exceptions."
Laxalt supported Roe v. Wade’s reversal and supports letting states decide what restrictions to put on abortions, which could include laws that ban abortion with no exceptions. But we found no examples of Laxalt stating support for laws banning abortions with no exceptions, in Nevada or elsewhere.
The claim is partially accurate but leaves out important details — our definition of Half True.
RELATED: Adam Laxalt’s PolitiFact file
Meta, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee-Silver State Values ad on Adam Laxalt and abortion, Sept. 22 to Oct. 4, 2022
Email, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Patrick Burgwinkle, Oct. 6, 2022
Email, Adam Laxalt campaign spokesperson Courtney Holland, Oct. 7, 2022
PolitiFact, "Five things to know now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade," June 27, 2022
PolitiFact, "Now that Roe is gone, what happens in the states?", June 24, 2022
PolitiFact, "Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Adam Laxalt open to tightening abortion restrictions, but not banning it," June 23, 2022
Nevada Independent, "Laxalt calls 1973 Roe v. Wade decision ‘a joke,’ bemoans Nevada’s abortion protections," June 30, 2022
Twitter, Adam Laxalt tweet, June 24, 2022
Twitter, Adam Laxalt tweet, May 3, 2022
Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Victor Joecks: How Nevada Republicans can win on abortion," archived here, May 14, 2022
News3lv.com, "If Roe v Wade overturned, Adam Laxalt says states to decide abortion law," May 17, 2022\
Reno Gazette Journal, "RGJ fact check: Does U.S. Senate candidate Adam Laxalt support national abortion ban?", posted Aug. 15, 2022; updated Aug. 16, 2022
Reno Gazette-Journal, "Setting the record straight on abortion | Adam Laxalt," posted Aug. 2, 2022; updated Sept. 2, 2022
The New York Times, "Tracking the states where abortion is now banned," updated Oct. 7, 2022
Cook Political Report, 2022 Senate Race Ratings, Oct. 4, 2022.
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