Sunday, Feb. 05, 2023|
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Gov. David Ige issued an executive order today protecting both patients and providers from legal action regarding abortion and reproductive health care services in Hawaii.
“Effective immediately, departments and agencies under my authority shall not provide any information, including medical records, data or billing to another state seeking to impose penalties upon a person or entity related to reproductive health services in Hawaii,” Ige said. “We will not cooperate with any other state that tries to prosecute women who receive abortions in Hawaii, and we will not cooperate with any other state that tries to sanction medical professionals who provide abortions in Hawaii.”
A provision in the executive order states exceptions can be made when otherwise required by law or by order of a court.
“They certainly would have to file an action in court in order for us to respond,” said Ige. “We would have the opportunity in court to state why we would not be providing that information.”
The right to privacy and personal autonomy also are recognized in the Hawaii Constitution, article 1, section 6, encompassing personal decisions relating to procreation, contraception, abortion and other aspects of reproductive access and choice.
“Abortion is a decision that is made by one-in-four pregnancy-capable people in this country,” said Dr. Reni Soon, an Oahu-based OB/GYN. “I have already taken care of patients that have come from out of state, even before this decision.”
Hawaii was the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize abortion over 52 years ago in 1970 which initially required a 90-day residency.
“I want to add that the executive order covers licensure,” said state Rep. Linda Ichiyama of Oahu. “In these uncertain times, we must remain vigilant to ensure access to reproductive health care in all forms, for everyone in our community.”
Ige’s executive order will continue until it is superseded or repealed.
“Whoever is elected governor would have the opportunity to issue an executive order of their belief,” said Ige. “But it would continue until some other action supersedes or repeals it.”
Hawaii joins 15 other states that have adopted similar provisions this year protecting reproductive health care, including Nevada, New Mexico and Massachusetts.
See Wednesday’s Tribune-Herald for more.
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