Hawaii Abortion Laws and How They Differ From Neighboring States
by Andrea Billups, NewsMax, October 7, 2015
In Hawaii, abortion laws are described as less restrictive than those passed in other states, according to FindLaw.
Under Hawaii's Freedom of Choice Act, the state allows "the right to abortion even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, specifically providing that “[t]he state shall not deny or interfere with a female’s right to choose or obtain an abortion of a nonviable fetus or an abortion that is necessary to protect the life or health of the female," according to Hawaii Right to Life.
The organization noted that taxpayers in Hawaii must pay for "medically necessary" abortions for women who receive welfare assistance from the state. Abortions in Hawaii, like most states, must be performed by a licensed physician. The state does not require informed consent for mothers or parental notification for minors, Hawaii Right to Life noted.
"All health insurance plans in Hawaii that provide prescription coverage must also provide coverage for contraception and abortion services," the website said.
The nearest continental state, California, is also less restrictive in its abortion laws, but it requires minors to get parental consent before seeking to terminate a pregnancy, FindLaw noted.
Nurse midwives and other medical professionals who are not licensed physicians may also perform abortions in California, if they have been trained.
The right to abortion is protected by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, although that law has endured many challenges in the four decades since it was enacted.
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Hawaii Abortion Laws: Quotes From Heated Debate
Hawaii's liberal abortion laws have prompted little debate. The state has provided much protection for women who seek abortions.
Hawaii's Freedom of Choice Act allows "the right to abortion even if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, specifically providing that '[t]he State shall not deny or interfere with a female’s right to choose or obtain an abortion of a nonviable fetus or an abortion that is necessary to protect the life or health of the female,'" according to Hawaii Right to Life.
In 1970, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to make abortion legal, but to state residents only, according to the American Association of University Women. The state’s legalization of abortion came three years before the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade that made abortion legal nationwide.
“Women are coming to realize that the right to control their bodies is as important as the right to vote.” — Joan Hayes, who was AAUW’s Legislative Chair at the time of the decision
Hawaii has seen the largest drop in abortions in recent years, with its number of terminated pregnancies falling almost 30 percent from 2010 to 2014, The Associated Press reported. That news left many speculating about the cause of the decline.
“There was, starting in 2010, a lot of new teen pregnancy education going on in both school and non-school settings using evidence-based curricula. I would certainly hope those efforts reduced the incidents of abortions by reducing the rate of pregnancies.” — Judith Clark, executive director of Hawaii Youth Services Network, The Associated Press
“It’s the availability of the morning-after pill. The need for surgical abortions is diminished.” — Rep. Bob McDermott (R), The Associated Press
The state’s pro-abortion rights stance rankles opponents.
“Hawaii lacks the most basic protections for women and unborn children. The state fails to require informed consent for abortion, to mandate parental involvement in a minor’s abortion decision, or to ensure that abortion clinics meet minimum health and safety standards. Hawaii also fails to protect unborn victims of violence and to ban destructive embryo research or human cloning.” — Americans United for Life, on its 2015 Life List