East Hawaii News

Law Requires Contraception Info, Services for Sex Assault Victims

April 22, 2013, 4:38 PM HST
* Updated April 22, 4:42 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law a bill that will require Hawaii hospitals to provide information about – and access to – emergency contraception for female victims of sexual assault.

House Bill 411, which has become Act 27, requires the services even if the victim refuses to undergo a forensic examination or refuses to report the alleged sexual assault to law enforcement.

“It is our duty as a society to ensure that any individual who has been traumatized by a sexual assault receives compassionate care, and this legislation underscores a woman’s right to choose contraception when faced with the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault,” Abercrombie said.

“Due to the commitment and persistence of many local advocates and legislators – some whose efforts extend back more than a decade – this legislation will protect the health and safety of Hawaii’s sexual assault victims and guarantee that they receive the medically accepted standard of care,” he said.

Numerous organizations and individuals provided written testimony in support of the bill, including the Hawaii Medical Association, Family Voices of Hawaii, the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Sex Abuse Treatment Center at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.

Those submitting testimony in opposition included the Hawaii Catholic Conference, Hawaii Family Values and a member of the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine who said he was presenting personal views and not that of the medical school.

The bill, which was similar to a measure proposed by the Abercrombie administration, was introduced by the House Women’s Caucus. Members of the caucus include two Big Island legislators, Reps. Faye Hanohano of Puna and Nicole Lowen of Kona.

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