by Steven Ertelt
March 20, 2006
Honolulu, HI (LifeNews.com) — A measure in the Hawaii state legislature that would promote abortions in the Aloha State is advancing and will likely be sent to Governor Linda Lingle. The measure removes residency rules requiring that abortions only be performed on state residents and allows private abortion businesses to join hospitals in performing abortions.
Backers of the measure say the bill is only intended to bring Hawaii into line with Roe v. Wade by updating a state law approved in 1970 to limit abortions.
They said the residency requirement was already declared unconstitutional and that some private doctors offices already perform abortions.
Hawaii was one of just a handful of states to legalize abortion before Roe and the law has been left unmodified since then because Roe confirmed abortion’s legality.
Lawmakers backing the bill say the state needs to have a pro-abortion law in place in case Roe is ever overturned. That’s more likely to happen now that two new apparently pro-life judges have been confirmed on the high court splitting it 5-4 in favor of abortion.
"We want to update our statute in the event that Roe v. Wade gets overturned," Rep. Blake Oshiro, vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Honolulu Star Bulletin.
House Bill 1242 repeals the residency and hospital requirements and has passed through the House. The Senate Health Committee signed off on it yesterday and the full Senate is expected to approve it.
Annelle Amaral, vice president of Hawaii Planned Parenthood, which backs the bill, told the Honolulu newspaper the only things standing in the way of approving it could be Governor Linda Lingle.
Amaral told the paper she worries Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is pro-life, will advice Lingle to veto it.
"The lieutenant governor seems to have the ear of the governor, and he has certainly brought to bear his Catholic beliefs," Amaral said.
Lingle has not yet taken a position on the bill and told the Star Bulletin she wanted to examine the issue further before commenting.
"I don’t know what is the current situation in the state, so I would have to get into it a lot more deeply," Lingle said.
Lingle campaigned for governor as a pro-abortion candidate who supports some restrictions like a partial-birth abortion ban. She indicated she wanted input from the state attorney general and health department before deciding.
During the Senate hearing, Kelly Rosati of the Hawaii Family Forum and the Hawaii Catholic Conference objected to the bill.
"I think we’re going to reduce a lot of the protection granted to women by expanding [where abortions can be performed]," Jackie Mishler, a nurse representing the Maui chapter of Hawaii Right to Life, told lawmakers.
"This is not a mild expansion of abortion," said Rep. Bud Stonebraker, a Republican, told the Honolulu Star Bulletin newspaper. "This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation to promote abortion that we’ve had in recent history."
The House approved the measure on a 38-13 vote with seven Democrats and six Republicans voting against the measure.
Related web sites:
Hawaii legislature – https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov