HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i Abortion Collective and State legislators held a press conference on Wednesday, at the Hawai‘i State Capitol to launch the first official abortion guide for Hawai‘i. In the wake of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the group hopes to make access to abortion across Hawai‘i a reality for all. While in-clinic procedures remain limited, there are abortion care providers on Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island, Maui and O‘ahu and tele-abortion is available to residents on all islands.
The statewide guide explains the current legal status of abortion in Hawai‘i, where and how to obtain abortion care on every island, insurance coverage and private funding sources for abortion, LGBTQ-specific abortion care, and what to expect getting an abortion in Hawai‘i in 2022. Until this guide, there has been no centralized source of information on abortion rights and resources in Hawai‘i.
The collaboration between seemingly dissonant sectors such as religious communities and women’s rights advocates indicates a renewed resolve across Hawai‘i to protect local communities from the U.S. mainland right-wing agenda. The group believes that the guide will also be an important tool to fight domestic violence:
“Intimate partner violence takes many forms such as hiding, withholding, removing, or destroying a partner’s contraceptives (also known as birth control sabotage), intentionally or secretly breaking or removing a condom during sex (also known as stealthing) or forcing a partner not to have an abortion against their will.
That’s why it’s critical that victims of intimate partner violence know where they can access abortion services in Hawai‘i,” said Hawai‘i State Coalition Against Domestic Violence Executive Director Angelina Mercado.
Another goal of the group is to empower women and pregnant people in religious communities. Religion and abortion care are compatible:
“I am a Christian who heard a call from God and answered that call to ministry so that I could support the work being done here today and tell you I am a Christian and I support abortion rights,” said Reverend Malia Galindo, a clergy leader on O‘ahu.
The guide is particularly important to women and pregnant people on neighbor islands: “Access to all types of health care on Moloka‘i has always been a challenge, but access to abortion care has been even more difficult. This guide will help girls and women navigate complex, bureaucratic systems that often look our Moloka‘i community” said Moloka‘i Councilmember Keani Rawlins-Fernandez.
Kaua‘i providers shared: “Hua Moon Women’s Health is proud to have participated with the Hawai‘i Abortion Collective in the creation of the first “official” abortion guide for the state of Hawai‘i.
This guide will help people on Kaua‘i who are experiencing an undesired pregnancy and seeking an abortion to know who they can turn to. There is a lot of confusion regarding what services are available on Kaua‘i and how to access them and the guide will provide more clarity.”
The guide is also an organizing tool that details how and why to combat abortion stigma in Hawai‘i:
Attorney Dina Shek, Legal Director of the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children shared, “For me, this is about healthcare privacy. Attacks on abortion undermine the trust that we all need to have with our doctors. Trust between patients and doctors, just like trust between clients and lawyers, is essential for positive outcomes, and trust demands that what we share will remain private.”
Ultimately, “The work of the Hawai‘i Abortion Collective will improve knowledge about abortion care, including assessment and treatment by advanced practice registered nurses. Further, it can serve as a resource for nurses, health workers, and community advocates to support health education for the public and individuals,” according to Laura Reichhardt, Director of the Hawai‘i State Center for Nursing.
Source: The Garden Island