Abortion Rights Protected in State Constitution Despite Supreme Court Ruling Overturning Roe v. Wade
June 25, 2022, 9:00 AM HST
* Updated June 25, 7:23 AM
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn landmark case Roe v. Wade sent a shockwave throughout the nation with some praising and others mourning the loss of constitutional protections to have an abortion.
The court’s ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. Roe v. Wade has protected a person’s right to abortion in America for nearly a half-century. Hawaiʻi is one of 16 states that protects abortion rights.
Gov. David Ige said the court’s ruling is “outrageous and a huge step backward for women’s rights.”
“Despite the ruling, I can assure you that women in Hawaiʻi will continue to have access to the healthcare they need, and that includes abortion,” Ige stated. “Hawaiʻi law already protects the right of individuals to make their own deeply personal reproductive health decisions, including the right to seek abortion care. I will do everything in my power to ensure that women retain control over their own reproductive choices.”
The Department of the Attorney General echoed the governor’s sentiments.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s deeply disappointing and profoundly wrong decision today strips away a fundamental right, causing immediate and devastating consequences for those seeking access to safe reproductive health care,” stated attorney general Holly T. Shikada. “Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, abortion care remains protected under Hawaiʻi law. In the State of Hawaiʻi, individuals have the right to make their own decisions about their own bodies and futures; these decisions are profoundly personal. The Department of the Attorney General will continue its work in the fight to protect and strengthen reproductive rights.”
Republican candidate for Governor of Hawaiʻi, Gary Cordery, released a statement saying he was overjoyed with the court’s decision to overturn the landmark ruling.
“Regulating abortions should be up to the States, allowing the people of the State to adhere to the democratic process,” Cordery stated. “This decision will allow the people of Hawaiʻi to decide what works for them and, as scientific knowledge of this issue continues to expand, the power is now back in the hands of the voters, where it should be. As Governor, I assure the people of Hawai’i this will be an issue of utmost importance to me.”
Hilo Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kathleen Katt said HMC would not be changing any of the hospital’s current policies or procedures in light of the recent ruling.
“We will continue to provide abortion procedures per the direction of our physicians and within the legal parameters of the State of Hawaiʻi Law,” Katt stated.
While West Hawaiʻi Community Health Center does not provide abortions, officials say they recognize the ruling will have lasting public health consequences nationally.
“This decision calls into question many other laws with clear impacts on healthcare and individual rights, including Griswold v. Connecticut, protecting the right to contraceptives, and Obergefell v. Hodges protecting same-sex marriage,” WHCHC stated. “We are concerned this ruling will disproportionately impact our most underserved and vulnerable populations, exactly the people who we provide care to here locally.”
Hawaiʻi’s delegation unanimously came out and condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling. Fifty-seven Democratic Members of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade:
“The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade is deeply disturbing. Abortion is still safe and legal in Hawaiʻi, under our state law. Today’s ruling means we need to remain vigilant and continue to ensure that a woman’s right to reproductive health care is protected in Hawaiʻi and access is provided to those who need it. Our sisters, daughters and granddaughters deserve to grow up in a country where they are afforded more rights, not less.”
The League of Women Voters in Hawaii County stated the ruling strips women and those who may become pregnant of their bodily autonomy and will have “devastating and immediate consequences across the country.”
“The LWV of Hawai’i County stands in our power with our reproductive partners and all persons who fear the dangerous consequences of this decision,” stated Rosemarie Muller, Vice President LWV Hawaii and Director LWV Hawai’i County. “Women hold the power to create a more perfect democracy. We will not stand by as constitutional rights are stripped away, one by one. Women’s rights are human rights and we will continue to fight until the right to abortion is restored.”