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by Bethany Gustavson, News Writing
Before House Bill 1242, women in Hawai‘i who sought an abortion had to prove that they had lived in the state for at least 90 days. Legislative reports indicated that this residency requirement violated the U.S. Constitution and prompted HB 1242. The bill also changed the guidelines for the facilities allowed to perform abortions to include physicians’ offices and clinics.

Barry Raff, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Hawai‘i, said of his organizations goals in supporting the bill: “What we want to ensure is that since Hawai‘i was the first state to decriminalize abortion, regardless of what happens at the federal level, abortion remains legal in Hawai‘i.”

Opponents of the law, such as the American Life League, said that the proposed changes will ultimately redefine abortions and lift any restrictions that currently regulate the termination of pregnancies.

“ The combined effect of all of these changes will be to make Hawai‘i one of the quickie-abortion capitals of the world,” said Judie Brown, president of the American Life League. “The eyes of the pro-life world are on Hawai‘i as people pray for the children there and put on hold any future vacation plans.”

According to Rep. Blake Oshiro, the basic purpose of the bill is to clarify and eliminate outdated language in Hawai‘i’s laws regarding abortions. He said the bill does not change Hawai‘i’s definition of abortion and does not expand abortion rights in Hawai‘i.

HB 1242 was signed into law by Governor Linda Lingle on April 26. This bill will now allow late-term abortions to be preformed in a clinic or a physician’s office. This will give women more freedom and provide an earlier choice for women who have just moved here; they will no longer be required to be a resident for 90 days or longer.

“ HB 1242 gives women more choices,” said HPU journalism major Marquise Brack, “and Governor Lingle is upholding women’s rights.”
 
 

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