Hawaiʻi Senate votes 22-3 to advance bill in support of abortion and reproductive rights
“In Hawaiʻi, Roe remains the law of the land.” Senator Jarrett Keohokalole made that statement at a press conference held after the Hawai‘i State Senate passed a major bill in defense of reproductive rights.
On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, the Senate passed SB1 SD1 by a 22-3 vote. It allows for licensed physician assistants to perform certain abortions, repealing the requirement that abortions be performed at certain locations, and clarifying that the state shall not deny or interfere with a pregnant person’s right to choose to (1) obtain an abortion or (2) if necessary to protect the life or health of the patient, terminate the pregnancy.
Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran of Maui authored the bill, and Senators Keohokalole and Joy San Buenaventura took the lead in sponsoring the bill, with Senator Keohokalole as Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection, and Senator San Buenaventura as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.
At the press conference held at the Patsy T. Mink Monument at the Hawai‘i State Library (the late US Congresswoman was herself a staunch supporter of abortion rights), Senator San Buenaventura pointed out that in 1970 – three years before the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade – Hawai‘i was the first state to show bipartisan support for a woman’s right to choose.
Senator Keohokalole said the 2023 legislation was in direct response to the current Supreme Court overturning that decision. Those present at Tuesday’s press conference championed Hawai‘i’s and other states’ decision to protect reproductive rights.
Senate President Kouchi emphasized the importance of the bill and hopes that the House of Representatives, after conferring with advocates, will pass out the bill with equal speed.